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Paul’s kindness to Philemon offers a very good example to follow.
—Wayne Brouwer Let’s Talk • What do we tend to disagree about? • How do we show our respect for one another when we disagree about something?
Philemon’s slave Onesimus had run away, met Paul in Rome and become a Christian.
Now Paul was sending the slave back to his master, urging Philemon to receive Onesimus, not as mere property, but as a brother. Both possibilities and a variety of others enter a marital relationship. Sometimes, like goats poised for battle on a mountain trail, we come close to butting heads. Sometimes we sit together and lovingly hash things out.
If our heart is not there — if our soul is not already safe through faith, if our mind is distracted and focused on other, lesser things, if our best strength is being spent on the things of this world — jobs, sports, shopping, entertainment, relationships, and on God — we simply will not date well. Listen to Jesus, and “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Seek him first (Matthew ), and dating will be added according to his perfect plan and timing. It’s not the first rule, but I have found that it is a “golden rule” that most often makes the difference between healthy and unhealthy Christian dating relationships.Even though we’re following Jesus, and reading the same Bible, and aiming for the covenant of marriage, our dating advice can be surprisingly wide and diverse.One Lord, one faith, one baptism — and a billion different dating tips.It is as important that I learn to be honest with myself as it is to be truthful with my partner.If Paul was in touch with his own thoughts and feelings when he wrote to Philemon, he could state his case without deploying manipulative or subversive tactics.