Philemon: Elephants in the Room

The circus is in town, and the elephants are camping out in your room. They make themselves comfortable on your couch, they use your fine china, they wear your clothing, they make friends with your friends. They take over your life.

They are those who have wronged you, and because you haven’t forgiven them, they become a glaring part of your interior design.

We love to watch the elephants in the circus. They prance around the ring, do handstands, and balance their large bodies on small platforms…they’re so intelligent! Yes, they are very intelligent. They are also immensely social and empathetic beings who, when removed from their families in the wild, can come to exhibit symptoms of depression, aggression or post-traumatic stress disorder. By confining and isolating these animals, their captives are denying their purpose in life, to have a dynamic life as an integral part of the ecosystem, all for the purpose of entertainment.

We are keeping elephants captive, with each wrong we refuse to forgive. In doing so, we are denying our purpose in life, to have a dynamic life as an integral part of God’s kingdom. We are keeping ourselves captive, chained to our resentment and fears. Even if our friends see us dancing in the living room, inwardly we are sitting on the couch with the elephants, missing out on God’s greatest gift, grace, all for the purpose of denying it to others.

Many states have banned the use of elephants in the circus, due to cruel training techniques, shortened life span, and resulting aggression. It’s time we banned elephants from our homes. Those who were cruel or aggressive toward us, betrayed us, or hurt our feelings…If we forgive them, as God has forgiven us, His grace will occupy our homes and take over our lives, setting us free from captivity.

Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. -Mark 11:25

Task: Make a list of the elephants in your room. Thank God for forgiving your sins, and ask Him to help you set the elephants free.