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The Return (3 of 3)
Restoration, healing, going home can be a beautiful thing. Let me share a letter with you that I received sometime back. Circumstances have been changed to protect everybody.
"Dear Pastor Laue: Thanks for talking to me about my Dad. If you will recall, I told you I was visiting from another state, and my Mom told me that my Father, who had passed away four years before, was really not my Father, but my real Dad lives not far away. I went to meet him and his daughter. He has accepted me and written me a few times, since I was last there. My daughter is now there visiting my mother for a week. They will soon be off to New York for two weeks and then will return here. My Dad has agreed to meet my daughter. How exciting all of this is to me! I wanted to thank you for comforting me in such a strange situation trying to tell my Dad that I am his daughter, and him not even knowing all this time that I existed. Boy! Thanks again. Love in the Lord Jesus."
I read in that letter healing, restoration, forgiveness, going home. And that is what we have here in Paul's letter to Philemon. Paul's goal is healing, restoration, restitution. It is a beautiful thing.
The Scriptures teach vividly that this is to be our practice. Think of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10. Zacchaeus worked for the IRS. He collected taxes. The law was that the tax collector could keep as much as he could collect over what was set as the tax. Consequently, Zacchaeus and others like him were rich. But one day he met Jesus and was converted. Right off the top, Zacchaeus said, "Half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have taken anything by false accusation, I will restore his money four-fold." That's four dollars for every one he took.
Paul writing in Galatians said, (6:1) "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in a trespass (sin), you who are spiritual (mature) restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, less you also be tempted." He goes on to say th ...
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