I remember a friend of mine who decided, against his parent’s wishes, to pierce his ear. He sterilized a needle and did it himself. Here is what happened: his parents got mad, his ear got infected, his friends made fun of him and he tried to pretend it was all okay. The only real way to bring reconciliation was to repent and release the control that had caused the problems and of course, get rid of the piercing.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just let go of conflict and the effects it has on our hearts and minds? Pain usually leaves a mark that we try to avoid or we try to fix. I used to think that I had more control over the reconciliation process and I’m sure God had a good laugh at my effort sometimes. Over the years I have learned that I can’t control the process, all I can do is own my part. As an adult, I am still shocked by how hard it is to allow my heart to release the control and let the Spirit do the work of reconciliation.

Paul in verse 13 writes, “I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel.” Paul could have tried to control the process and in power and authority hold onto Onesimus, but that would not have allowed reconciliation. Philemon could have looked at Paul’s words in this letter and not wanted to let go of the past to allow Onesimus to become a brother. Onesimus could have just kept running instead of facing the hurt he felt as a slave. We need to allow God to work the process of reconciliation, we have to release the past, the pain, the power, and the control.

If we want to be kingdom people, we have to allow reconciliation to become a normal part of life. To have that happen we have to be willing to let go of our control and step into only owning our part of the process. We cannot control others, but we can work with Jesus to control our choices, actions, and feelings. This is HARD (all caps means really hard sometimes). Our challenge is to lean in and release the things keeping us from reconciliation with others. If you are having trouble releasing past or present pain due to some brokenness, we are here to listen, guide and pray. However we can help, we will.

Pastor Jeremy Johnson
Family Pastor

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