8 我在基督裡雖然可以放膽吩咐你作應作的事， 9 然而像我這上了年紀的保羅，現在又是為基督耶穌被囚禁的，寧願憑著愛心請求你， 10 就是為我在囚禁時所生的兒子歐尼西慕求你； 11 他從前對你沒有甚麼好處，但現在對你我都有好處。 12 我現在打發他親自回到你那裡去；他是我所心愛的。 13 我本來想把他留在我這裡，使他在我為福音被囚禁時，可以替你服事我。 14 但還沒有得到你的同意，我就不願意這樣作，好叫你的善行不是出於勉強，而是出於甘心。 15 也許他暫時離開你，正是為了使你永遠得著他， 16 不再是奴僕，而是高過奴僕，是親愛的弟兄。對我固然是這樣，對你來說，不論按肉身或在主內的關係，更是這樣。 17 所以，你要是把我看作同伴，就接納他好像接納我一樣。 18 如果他使你受了損失，或欠你甚麼，都記在我的帳上。 19 “我必償還”，這是我保羅親手寫的。用不著我說，甚至你的生命，你也是欠我的。 20 所以弟兄啊！讓我在主裡得到你的幫助，使我的心在基督裡得著暢快。 21 我深信你會聽從，也知道你所作的必超過我所說的，因此才寫信給你。
8Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9yet I appeal to you on the basis of love. I then, as Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. 12I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13I 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. 14But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced. 15Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good— 16no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. 17So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.
- Are there one or more Christians that I have a hard time accepting as brother or sister in Christ? Why is it hard to think of this Christian this way? Take time to explore my heart. Is it the background, ethnicity, behavior, cultural or theological difference, or something else? What would need to change in me in order to accept this person as a Christian brother or sister?
- Talk to God about this. Tell Him about my struggle of accepting others. Thank God that He accepts me and thank Him that He sees me and other believers as no less than His very own children. Ask God to help me see others with the same eyes.
- As I encounter people this week who are different from me, remind myself that God sees them with the label “my children” – and that means me too.
Prayer & Journaling:
Stay with God for a little longer. Continue to converse with God and listen to what he wants to tell me. Then write down any thought and/or prayer in the 2012 “Spiritual Journal” book.