Author // Daniel

I am convinced that if we are to compel this generation to live as no other has, it must be through humble boldness.

In the book of Philemon, we see Paul ask his friend Philemon to forgive and free his slave, Onesimus, who now had become a Christ follower - so that he could partner with Paul in his ministry. Onesimus was most likely a runaway slave, which meant in that time that he had given up the few rights he had as a slave and could lawfully be executed or beaten for punishment. 

Paul’s request of Philemon to have Onesimus freed would have been revolutionary in their era. Not only was he asking that Philemon not punish his slave, but furthermore that he might be freed - all due to Paul’s testimony of his conversion. Paul has an impossible task before him that goes totally against the current of the age, and yet it is clearly the heart of God. Wilberforce and Lincoln probably felt the same overwhelmed way as they fought an ubiquitous slavery era. And yet this is how he responds:

"Though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for loves sake I prefer to appeal to/(encourage) you” - Philemon 1:8-9

He has the boldness, but chooses to infuse humility. The result is a sweet balance between passivity and aggression. Between justice and peace. Between boldness and humility. It is loving assertion. 

This is truly heaven’s path, to compel those around us through love. To let love compel them, even though we carry the authority and would be just in forcing it, we let them choose. Paul does it, Jesus does it in His first coming. It’s the right way.

This is no weak-back passive plea for change. And yet neither is it an iron clinched fist of forceful aggression. It is a passionate, boldly beseeching, tough love, wade through the muddy waters with them call to action. 

The rarest, yet most effective Christians are ones who are both humble, and bold. I have seen lots of one or the other. But it is time for the peace and justice keepers to marry. 

We have a generation to change. We have a higher vision for humanity than they can see for themselves, or can see anywhere around them. This can be frustrating. Those of us who are passive will tend to give up and settle for what exists. Those of us who are aggressive will push hard, forcing those around us to make an outward behavior that is not inwardly genuine, effectively pressure washing the outside of the tombs of their life, and then getting angry and perhaps giving up when we see the dead body, bad fruit of their life pop up again. 

Our response to the revolutionary task ahead of us must be that of Paul’s: to boldly and humbly challenge them, lovingly inspire them to live according to a different standard, dare them to move upstream "that  (their) goodness might not be by compulsion, but of (their) own accord” Philemon 1:14.

To practice humble boldness.

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