I just have to say, I love facebook. It has been so much fun for me to catch up with old friends that I have not spoken to in years. It is neat to see where people are at and what they are doing. It is amazing to see how some people never change and some are completely different from what I remember.
I myself thank God everyday that people change, (especially me). I also am so thankful that God never changes. "I the LORD do not change." Malachi 3:6a
In Sunday School we just talked about the book of Philemon. In this book, Paul is trying to convince Philemon that, Onesimus has changed. Onesimus was one of Philemon's slaves that had runaway. When he ran away he met Paul. Paul led Onesimus to Christ. Paul had also led Philemon to Christ. Paul was urging Philemon to not only forgive Onesimus for running away, but also to accept Onesimus as his brother in Christ. No longer his slave but rather his equal.
I have been pondering this story. Just think about this, the last time Philemon saw Onesimus, he was his master. Now, Paul is telling Philemon that they are equals.
This story makes me look at my testimony. I have led a less than perfect life. I did not find a real relationship with Christ until I was an adult. Even after that, I didn't (and still don't) always make the right choices. On the other hand, I know people that accepted Christ as young children. I am not implying that they have had perfect lives. We are all sinners. But at times, I do envy their knowledge of the Bible and their faith walk. In the past I have felt inadequate in my faith because of my lack of knowledge.
However, this story has reminded me that everyone that has an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ is an equal. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. As a body of believers I think we miss our mark in this area sometimes. Philemon might have had a hard time forgiving Onesimus mistake. He may have had a hard time not judging him by his past.
Do we do this same thing within the body of believers? When someone becomes a Christian, do we judge them by their past reputation? Or do we forgive and forget just as Jesus did and accept them right where they are at, no strings attached? I think most of us have things from our past that we would like to erase.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17
Hallelujah to that verse. I am sure there are some people from my past that think I could never change. It is one reason that connecting with the past can be a scary thing. However, I know that anyone that "is in Christ" is made new. It is exciting to look back on people from my past to see that people change. It brings me great joy to see God moving all across the United States through my network of friends.