I came across the small book (a page long) of Philemon in the scriptures over the weekend.
I read about how Paul meets Onesimus in prison.
Spends time with him and then sends out this appeal to Philemon:
“He is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me.” (Verse 16)
The request was to treat him (Onesimus) as a brother. A person of dignity.
But what changed? How did Paul’s relationship with him shift?
Simply, I believe Paul got to know him.
They’re sharing a cell.
Paul gets to hear his story.
After some time with him the relationship changes.
Onesimus moves from slave status to brother status.
And this is the application to us.
(Especially in South Africa), we like to term our “slaves” à as “maid” or “domestic worker” or “garden boy”
They’re actually rather ugly terms!!!
But the thing is… we keep those employees (workers) of ours at arm’s length.
They’re still “an Onesimus” to us.
But if we spent time with them.
We’d get to know them.
(And yes, I get that in any employer and employee relationship there needs to be boundaries. Fair enough!)
But this is post is not about ‘working world’ relationships but rather combating the poisonous condition of “us and them.”
Love needs to cross the street.
Love needs to break through stereotypes.
Love needs to break preconceived ideas.
Who do you need to spend time with this week?
“He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me” Philemon 16
You can find the book of Philemon here