Refresh the Hearts of Others
“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” (Philemon 1:7, NIV)
Paul is writing from prison to Philemon, and several fellow Christians who hold church meetings in that home. His main purpose for the letter is to convince Philemon to forgive his runaway slave (Onesimus) and to accept him back as a brother in Christ. He starts by acknowledging and praising their faith walk and its impact on others. Imagine as your teacher and spiritual leader says to you in front of others, “Your tender and compassionate love, affection, and support have given me great joy and encouragement because you have refreshed (revived, lifted up, encouraged) the hearts of others (family, friends, coworkers).” What a kind and moving compliment Paul gives to Philemon and the others.
Every Christian should strive to be loving, compassionate, encouraging, and supportive to others. As an Executive Coach, I often have to address conflict and issues of performance or character. I’ve asked God to help me teach and encourage. Specifically, I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to keep me in a “Circle of Love” at all times, and to show me how to refresh the hearts of others. I’ve asked Him to help me manage my emotions so I do not allow them to lead me outside the circle of love, and to be silent when I am upset, frustrated, or angry.
Daily, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me be more sensitive and empathetic towards others. I’ve come to realize that far too often as leaders, parents, or teachers we fail to refresh, revive, and lift up the spirits of others.
Child of God, ask God to speak to you about any relationship in your life where you can become a source of love and compassion. Look for ways to refresh the hearts of those around you. Commit to live and work in the “Circle of Love,” and watch as God changes you and the world around you.
Lord, I confess that I struggle at times to comprehend the depth and width of Your vast love for me. Jesus, fill me with Your love and compassion. Help me speak and act like You and to refresh the hearts of others. Through the blood of Jesus and in the name of Jesus I pray, amen.
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