by Pastor John Fredericksen
I like peppermint. It has a refreshing taste and it can help refresh my breath, when it needs it, making it more suitable to interact in public. Peppermint also serves as an illustration or reminder of what we should be striving to be for the Lord.
Among Paul’s praises of Philemon was that “the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee” (Phile. 7). This precious saint had chosen to be like a peppermint for all the believers with whom he came in contact. It’s wonderful to read about this kind of testimony and what made him so refreshing to others. He demonstrated a sense of “love and faith… toward all saints” (v. 5). When these characteristics are present and genuine, they manifest themselves in a warmth and interest in others that is unmistakable. It will also be obvious in the tone and content of every word that comes out of one’s mouth.
Philemon was approachable even about sensitive matters. Paul felt free to be bold in asking him to kindly and lovingly receive someone (Onesimus) who had wronged him (vv. 10-16). This quality of being approachable engendered a respect, closeness, and freedom in relation- ships that made Philemon a blessing to others.
Philemon could be expected to respond in a correct spiritual way. Paul had “confidence”(v.21) that Philemon would do the right thing in the right way and with the right spirit. No wonder, then, that this believer refreshed the saints around him, including the Apostle Paul. Philemon was a grace believer who not only believed in grace doctrine, he lived and demonstrated grace.
As we consider this godly example, we should apply these truths by asking ourselves if we truly want to be the kind of saint that is like a refreshing, spiritual peppermint. We should want to be this kind of saint! A good way to begin is by asking the Lord to help us develop the kind of Christian character that makes us refreshing to other saints: loving, approachable, and so responsive to the Scriptures that others can be confident in our actions and reactions. If this is your prayer and heart’s desire, we encourage you to look for verses in Paul’s letters that will further empower you toward becoming this kind of godly example.