Using our freedom to serve in love
I was reading something I wrote a while ago and decided it was worth revisiting. My thoughts were about spontaneous favours vs forced favours based on this verse from Philemon: “But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do will be spontaneous and not forced” (v.14).
I made these comments: Paul didn’t want to presume upon Philemon’s kindness. We do others a disservice when we presume upon their kindness or put them under some sort of obligation to assist even if it is for the cause of the gospel. We may see a great opportunity to advance the kingdom but we mustn’t pressurize fellow believers into in doing a kindness for someone without their freely given consent. It is God who convicts, challenges and guides His children, not us.
However sometimes I find people’s comments are more interesting than what I write (!) and this was one of the comments:
I came to this realization within the past year and it has alleviated much stress in my marriage when this principle is practiced by both parties. “I would love it if you would help me out by doing this thing for me. But if you do not, I recognize that it is your choice and I still love you and accept you either way and there are no hard feelings.” When a person comes at me from this place, my heart’s reaction, almost every time, is to then use my freedom to serve them in love.