Love Refreshes Hearts
The Apostle Paul is writing from prison to his close friend and believer Philemon, who was thought to be a wealthy leader of the Colossian church. Paul’s purpose for this letter was to convince Philemon to forgive his runaway slave (Onesimus) and to accept him back as a brother in Christ. He starts this short letter acknowledging and praising Philemon for his faith and its impact on others. Imagine your pastor or maybe your boss saying to you in front of others “Your tender and compassionate love, affection, and support have given me great joy and encouragement because you have refreshed (revived, lifted up, encouraged) the hearts of others (family, friends, coworkers).” What a kind and motivating compliment that would be!
As Christians, we should strive to be loving, compassionate, encouraging, and supportive to all. As a Pastor, I often have to address conflicts and other personal issues in people’s lives. Daily I pray for God’s grace and ask Him to help me love and encourage others. Specifically, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me “walk in love as Christ loved us” and show me how to refresh the hearts of others. I also ask the Holy Spirit to help me manage my emotions so I do not allow them to lead me outside God’s circle of love and to be silent when I am upset, frustrated, or angry. I also ask God to help me be sensitive and empathetic towards others at all times. I’ve come to realize far too often as leaders, teachers, or parents, we often fail to refresh and lift up the spirits of others.
Dear friends, ask God to speak to you about any relationship in your life that you can become a source of love and compassion. Look for ways to refresh the hearts of others and recommit to live and work in the “Circle of Love,” and then watch as God changes you and the world around you.
Grace and peace always,