Friday, May 28, 2010

Friends Or Enemies? (Part II)

By Odon Bulamba (16 August 2002)

The book of Philemon

Onesimus met Paul in jail and Paul preached the gospel to him. Then Paul asked Philemon to regard Onesimus as a brother and no longer a slave. So Paul wanted Onesimus to stay with him and everything that Onesimus had done against Philemon, Paul wanted to pay for it. Unfortunately when Christians hate, sometimes it is forever because they don’t know how to practice forgiveness and if you offend any body in my country they say, “I have a scar”.

This is not from Jesus because Jesus paid for everything, if you want to heal your scar go to Jesus and He’ll fix it for you free of charge. Those who were your enemies must become your friends and this is a step to maturity. Whoever is your enemy put his or her name on a piece of paper and say to Jesus, “Jesus I want this person to be my friend because if he is my friend I can forgive him and have the courage to pray for him. You said Lord that if you forgive you’ll be forgiven and without forgiveness there is no love”.

Once you have accepted an enemy and regarded him as a brother in the Lord, you will see the light in him.

Paul wrote Philemon a letter telling him to regard Onesimus as a brother because Paul knew that Philemon needed to practice forgiveness. I would be ashamed to be Philemon, especially being a servant of God and having to be corrected by a friend who was Paul. If we reject anybody, Jesus will ask you to take this person back even though they have done wrong to you, and this is not easy.

There was a sorcerer who killed a lot of members in my family and when we came together to pray we would ask God to kill her. One of my cousins made a coffin while she was alive because we didn’t like her at all, but Jesus said, “You must love her and be her friend”. So who will love her? Oscar? No, because if you become a sorcerer’s friend you risk to be eaten. Jesus asked us to be her friend and I can tell you, it was difficult to communicate with her. Instead of talking about the love of Jesus we would talk about magic, instead of talking about God’s Word and warning her about life after death, we would talk about rubbish things.

One night someone came to me and told me to weigh myself on the scales, and it turned out that I was only 4kg. I was shocked because not even a child can weigh that little, but the person told me, “the reason why you weigh so little is because you love little, love is what makes a Christian because love forgives”. I was spiritually light because the trunk [the solid part – the foundation] of the church is love.

I thank God because after a time she accepted Jesus but if we hadn’t loved her or talked to her about Jesus Christ her blood would have been on our shoulders. When Jesus tells us to accept someone we have to take them in, sometimes it is difficult but with God all things are possible because He will open the way for you, but if you just give up woe to you. If you want to be mature in the Lord you have to try the first step then the second step and so on, like a baby learning to walk, and remember that Jesus said “you will not be tempted beyond what you are able to bear”.

We know what our weaknesses are, if you were a thief and are faced with temptation, all you have to do is look right and then look left, like someone crossing the road. We have to check whether it is a sin or not, if it is, we must flee from it, simple.

Meditate on Philemon’s and Onesimus’ life, God is not far and can act straight away, if you draw near to Him He will draw near to you and He will give you anything. If you want to be servant of God you will, if you want to be someone in the Lord you will because our Lord needs servants, the harvest is plenty but the workers are few. It is now time to work for the Lord because He will pay you, don’t be like a chick waiting for his mum to feed him all the time, woe to the man who is compared to a bird. A bird is beautiful with its feathers, but when you pluck its feathers it becomes ugly, so we must not cover ourselves with feathers just to show off. Beauty needs to come from within.

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