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You Seek Consent of those You Respect

Any profits made out of unfair abuse of people is a curse. Seek consent while allowing the other person to say no...

Written by Dr. Rei Kesis
· 3 min read >

Philemon 1:14
But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary.

Contemporary English Version
But I won’t do anything unless you agree to it first. I want your act of kindness to come from your heart, and not be something you feel forced to do.

Good News Translation
However, I do not want to force you to help me; rather, I would like for you to do it of your own free will. So I will not do anything unless you agree.

Apostle Paul writes to Philemon pleading with him to accept back Onesimus. Onesimus used to work for Philemon as a slave. Onesimus stole from Philemon and ran away. Onesimus deserved death for this crime.

While on the run, Onesimus met Apostle Paul and got converted to Christianity. Paul learned from Onesimus about his crime against Philemon. Paul writes this letter to Philemon pleading with him to forgive Onesimus and take him back no longer as a slave but as a brother in faith. Paul does what Christians should be doing – reconciliation.

Paul tells Philemon that he would have preferred to keep Onesimus. However, he returns him first to Philemon so that Philemon can give consent to releasing Onesimus to Paul. Paul says he doesn’t want to force Philemon to make that decision. Paul says he is creating an environment where Philemon acts without pressure.

Paul was aware that he had an upper hand over Philemon. Paul was aware that his request could easily be interpreted as a command. Paul knew that Philemon could easily agree to Paul’s request even if he really didn’t want to. Therefore as a wise man, Paul created a situation where Philemon would only act out of personal choice without pressure. This is why Paul sought Philemon’s consent.

Do you have an upper hand over anyone? Do you realize they may seem glad to meet your needs even when they can’t afford it? Do you know your junior workers can pretend they are not inconvenienced so as to serve you, yet they could be missing important personal duties? If Jesus dwells in you, be sensitive!

When you push your juniors and workers to do things and they quickly agree, do not assume all is well. Out of respect, they take your pressure. Out of respect, they try harder. Out of respect, they sacrifice their health and time. God will not count you innocent of the personal losses they incur. Be sensitive!

If your workers and juniors are tired or have done too much, let them go rest, even if they are willing to do more. It could be respect for you or fear of job loss. It is not you that they love, it is their jobs they are securing. They would be as loyal as they are to you, to any boss who guarantees their daily bread. Be sensitive like Apostle Paul and refuse any attempt to set up people who are loyal to work under duress.

Any profits made out of unfair abuse of people is a curse. Even if people seem willing to be abused, it brings a curse to the business. Be sensitive when they take a pay cut and excess work, for God who reads their hearts knows they fear you. Be sensitive and human. Cursed profits are worse than no profits at all!

Paul tells Philemon that I don’t want to do this without your consent. Paul is benchmarking with his faith and not with the awful practices of his time. Christians can’t benchmark with people who abuse and take advantage of others. Paul insists on seeking consent. Seeking consent is a sign that you respect a person.

Seek consent while allowing the other person to say no and you don’t take offense. If you are getting into someone’s extra time, extra effort, extra sacrifice, seek their consent. Seek consent before intruding on someone’s privacy. It is civilized to seek consent. It is Christian to seek consent.

Seeking consent is not a formality to nicely force people below you to make decisions they would ideally not make. Seeking consent respects the other person by creating an environment in which they don’t act under duress. Paul says it was a must for him to seek consent from Philemon.

Seek the consent of your spouse. Seek consent from your fiancée. Seek consent of your children. Seek the consent of your parents. Seek consent from your workers. Seek consent from your friends. Seek consent from your neighbors. Make it your way of life to seek consent!

May God help us to be sensitive enough to properly seek the consent of those who would easily help us to their own disadvantage. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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Written by Dr. Rei Kesis
Rei Kesis is an ordained Pastor of the SDA Church and A Senior Lecturer of Applied Theology and Religious Studies. Profile

8 Replies to “You Seek Consent of those You Respect”

  1. Lord teach me to remain sensitive to all who would otherwise suffer as they, out of respect, try to meet my demands. Amen.

  2. “If Jesus dwells in you, be sensitive!”- thank you pastor for this message.
    God bless you.

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