Therefore, though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting, 9 yet for love's sake I rather appeal to you; being such a one as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. (Phile 1:8-9)
No one likes a pushy person. When people are heavy on us we seem to resent it and rebel in our hearts and clash with their attitude. We would rather have people be kind and approach us gently and with respect.
Paul had a situation he had to deal with. His friend Philemon had a slave named Onesimus who ran away and eventually found his way to Paul who was in prison. He wrote this tiny one chapter epistle to speak to Philemon’s heart about receiving Onesimus back with love and forgiveness. He didn’t demand clemency for Onesimus, but rather appealed to Philemon’s heart for undeserved mercy toward his fugitive slave. Read Paul’s little “postcard” sometime and you will be impressed at how the veteran apostle avoided pushiness with his friend. Instead he chose persuasiveness and spoke to the heart.
You and I can make demands on people and we might be justified in doing so. But if we appeal to the heart then we will be doing what Paul did to Philemon . . . and what Jesus does to us. Is the Lord pushy? By no means. His loving persistence is with us daily. His still small voice is wooing us constantly. The gentle Dove rests upon us continuously with His quiet but firm influence. It’s His goodness that always leads us to repentance. (Rom 2:4)
May God temper our ways to be like His. In dealing with people, may we not be pushy, but be lovingly persuasive. May we speak to the heart, motivating from within instead of making demands from without . . . and so be like the Lord.
. . . Your gentleness has made me great. (Psa 18:35)