I just want to camp for a little while longer on Philemon vs12 "I am sending him-who is my very heart-back to you" In the New Living Translation it goes "I am sending him back to you, and with him comes my heart". God has a way of linking believers' hearts together in a way that the world can never quite understand. I believe that we need to experience the intensity of God's love for ourselves before we can truly love as He intends. After that it gets so much easier. I feel like I'm at a point now when I can love people that I don't even really like.
That's a statement only a fellow believer can understand. I could love the girls my sons brought home even though I knew they were going to break their little teenage hearts. I can love the drunks that spit and swear at me just as easily as I love the sweet little 4 year old who swallowed a penny and 3 legos.
The love God instills in my heart let's me reason with the unreasonable, even after they start tugging at my last frayed nerve. It also lets me bend down to my pregnant daughter-in-law's belly and whisper words of love to my future granddaughter. That's right ladies' Emily's having a girl. Little Aurora Grace Gaucher already occupies room in my heart and she won't even be here until July.
All this to say I understand Paul's anguish as he's releasing Onesimus back to his owner. It permeates each word in this letter. It's not like when you tell your kids that stray puppy has a real home. Onesimus came as a runaway slave. His owner has every right to have him stoned to death just to discourage his other slaves from following suit. Paul doesn't know what he's sending him to but he's leaving as a new creation in Christ. Paul has come to depend upon this man to serve his own needs as well as those of the body of believers. It's easy to understand the desire to keep him around. Good Christ-filled brothers and sisters are hard to find and even harder to let go of. Take time today to thank God for each one that he's placed in your heart and cherish every moment you have together.
Love, as always, Renée
Now on to this week's lesson
Read 2 John
Memory verse 2 John :6 " Love means doing what God has commanded, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you have heard from the beginning"
1. Some scholars believe the "Lady" John wrote to is actually the church. Do you agree or disagree? Support your answer.
2. What one command does he have for this woman?
3. How loving is your own walk?
4. Other than Christ on the cross, what is the most meaningful example of love that you've ever seen?
5. John cautions against false teaching. How confident are you that you can discern truth?
6. How willing are you to be a woman who boldly corrects false teaching?
7. Ephesians 4:15 commands us to speak the truth in love. Have you ever leaned so far on the side of love that you shied away from truth?
8. When have you spoken solid truth but missed the boat on love?
For personal growth:
We read strong words in vs 10. "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching do not take them into your house or welcome them" Othe translations say don't allow them in your meeting. John goes on to state that anyone who welcomes them shares in their wickedness. Are you silently condoning faulty or false teaching because you're afraid to speak the truth in love? What would you do if the pastor misspoke from the pulpit? How likely is it that you would confront him or call him out? What if falsehood came from your neighbor's mouth? What if it struck closer to home? What if your own child or sibling is the one who brings false teaching? Would you be able to turn them away? What are the consequences if you don't?
For the good of the group:
Who do you know that walks the line between truth and love especially well?