Politics these days has become excessively prejudiced, even though the idea of being open minded and tolerate has been given so much air time. Ironic!! It appears as though people hear each other yet do not really hear. Instead, they hear only what they want to hear. They then take liberty to turn their interpretation of it and use it to leverage public opinion in a negative way. Is this intentional or has it become so much a part of their psyche they actually believe they are reporting truth. Have we passed the point of no return?
When reflecting on that, I asked myself how often do I hear only what I want to hear from God, my wife, family or my friends and then act unwarrantedly on my selfish interpretation. I suspect we all do this to some degree. It is how our brain works. It is observable in children as well as the oldest of adults and equally sad and dangerous no matter who or what age it may occur.
I was intrigued how in Paul’s letter to his friend Philemon, he was tempted to presume or take unwarranted action but caught himself and refused to do so. In that case, Philemon’s runaway slave (Onesimus) had managed to travel from Colossae to Rome and get a job serving prisoners, one of which was Paul. In their conversation, Paul found out Onesimus was his friend’s slave. Paul led him to salvation and enjoyed their growing relationship and especially appreciated Onesimus’ care for him. He wanted that to continue but was convicted that he was selfishly presuming upon his friend by not sending Onesimus back to Philemon.
Paul followed his conscience and sent Onesimus, who had become like his “son”, back to Colossae along with a letter to his friend. In the letter he wrote that while he knew he could have presumptively left the situation as it was, Philemon 1:14 (NLT2) I didn’t want to do anything without your consent. I wanted you to help because you were willing, not because you were forced.
What would I have done if I had been Paul? Would I have voluntarily taken such a gut-wrenching risk to send a man who had become so close to me that I depended upon him back to his slave master not knowing what the outcome might be? What would you have done?
These days we act presumptuously almost as casually as we eat a meal! We presume upon our spouse, family, friends, government, etc. Yet, God modeled the righteous way to live by refusing to presume upon us by giving you and I a free will. Like Paul, He insists on us choosing to submit to His Almighty authority. How have you been managing your freedom to choose to submit to Him?