As a new administration takes over the leadership in Washington D.C., we can see a different leadership style than we have been used to for the past eight years. J. Oswald Sanders discusses the importance of tact and diplomacy in his book titled Spiritual Leadership. Sanders states, “Spiritual Leadership -Combining these two words, the idea emerges of skill in reconciling opposing viewpoints without giving offense and without compromising principle.
We need more peace-makers today. Wherever we look there is tension, turmoil, and dissension. Within our nation there is division. Too many homes daily feel the pain of stress and discord. Even within many churches there is disharmony and schisms within the body.
Through the Apostle Paul we have a clear command to the followers of Christ to heal their wounds and bring about peace. During Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, he was the spiritual mentor and close friend of a runaway slave named Onesimus. Philemon was the owner of this slave and a leader in the church of Colossae. Paul sensed the tension between these two men and the need to heal their relationship.
As a brother in Christ, Paul showed tact and diplomacy. He wrote these words of reconciliation, “Although in Christ, I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love…Onesimus is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.” Phil. 1:8-9, 16.
With clarity and compassion, Paul sought to encourage the men to show a Christ-like love and forgiveness to one another. “I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary” (vs. 14). We can’t force ourselves to love others, but we can through the power of the Holy Spirit ask God to forgive those who have offended us.
Paul saw both men as his “spiritual sons”. As such he asked them to reconcile their issues and become a family who loves one another.
Heavenly Father, I pray that we can demonstrate in word and action God’s grace, love, and forgiveness to others. And that those who’ve been offended by our actions would forgive us.
Let’s pray that our nation can get on track with God’s plan for family. Maybe we can begin to have relationships with one another through love that comes from above.
Paul’s love to Philemon and Onesimus were rooted in his spiritual parenthood for these brothers- in-the-Lord. What can you do to assist individuals you know and love in re-building a broken relationship?
What does 1 Cor. 13 say about the power of a Christ-like love?