I was reading in my Bible the other day when I came upon a very meaningful story.  I would like to share it with you.

     There was a man named Onesimus who was a slave. One day he stole some money from his master and ran away. Soon after his escape he spent all his money and grew very hungry.

     One day he met a man named Paul who was a prisoner in Rome. He was not IN a prison though, he was allowed to live in a house with a soldier to guard him. Many people came to visit him, and listen to him tell stories of Jesus. One day Onesimus came to talk to Paul and Paul gave him some food and cloths to wear. He also talked to him about Jesus. This made Onesimus feel very happy and secure. He grew to love Paul and Paul grew to love him.

      Onesimus decided to give his heart to Jesus. He told Paul about taking the money from his master, Philemon, and running away. Paul was surprised to hear  that Onesimus's master was Philemon for Paul knew him very well. He had taught Philemon to be a Christian. Paul knew that Onesimus had to go back to Philemon and ask him for forgiveness. Philemon could punish Onesimus any was he wanted to, for taking the money and running away. He could even kill him. Onesimus knew  that going back could mean his death too, but he knew in order to be a true Christian he must return to his master and ask him to forgive him. Onesimus said he would go. He wasn't afraid anymore for he knew Jesus would be with him. Paul couldn't go with Onesimus so he wrote Philemon a letter for Onesimus to give him. The letter went something like this:

 Dear Philemon,
     I thank God for you. I pray for you. I am glad you are a Christian. I am sending Onesimus to you. I have grown to love him as my son. I know in the past he has not been a good servant, but now  he is a very good servant. Please receive him kindly. Not as a servant but above a servant like a BROTHER, beloved in the Lord.  Receive him as you would receive me. I know with confidence that you will do even more than I ask. Whatever money he has taken I will repay it for him.

 Your Friend,

     The Bible doesn't really  tell how this story ended, but I imagine  Philemon forgave Onesimus and received him as his brother in the Lord.

     This is a very good story for us to learn by. Many times we have done things that we shouldn't  have done. We feel bad about it and think it's hopeless to try to correct. In the book of Matthew chapter 6 and verse 14 it says, "If you forgive... your heavenly Father will also forgive you." Jesus will forgive you when you do something wrong. All you need to do is ask Him to forgive you and He will. Then you should tell the one you have wronged that you are sorry and ask them to forgive you, too. You will feel a lot better about yourself! Your heart will be clean once again.

Story by: Brenda Beaty

Click on forgive.htm for page number 2.


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