Re:Verse reading–Philemon 1-25 (day three)
I appeal to you on the basis of love.
The modern Western mind might view the stakes in this way: A man who had temporarily clawed out a sliver of respite from life as a subject of human trafficking could end up disappearing into a system of forced servitude in which death is the only limiting factor. Paul’s mind was not a modern Western one. But his spiritual and intellectual brilliance led to the rise of that mind as he helped lay the foundation for what would become Western civilization. How did that happen? Paul concedes that he could force the issue by any means necessary: authority, position, coercion, shame, threat. He rejects those means, discerning that regardless of the short-term outcome, they would produce only more of the same kind of world which gave us the present moment. Love alone is transformative.