Of Exegesis, Wedding Preparation and the Whole Lot of Things: Another Reflection

To those who know what happened, the past months since the start of 2016 had been very stressful to me. In the preparation to my impending wedding this coming October, my future father-in-law decided to throw a few spanners into the wedding preparation by declaring that he was not comfortable with me as a life partner to his daughter because I am a full time Christian worker and more importantly because I come from a different family background from her. The latter means that there are certain practices in my own family which are unthinkable in his worldview on how a family should function. This led to intense tensions between Angelina and myself. To compound the stress, NT Exegesis class was not that easy also and the stress of meeting the deadlines mean that I sometimes did not have the time to reflect deeper into the situations I was facing in my relationship. 

However, studying the text of Philemon 15-20 reminded me of the way we should conduct our relationship in Christ, especially in a relationship where both of us would soon become one. I noted in my study that Paul went all the way to remove all the obstacles to reconciliation between Philemon and Onesimus, offering to pay back everything Onesimus owed Philemon and even reminding Philemon constantly of their identity in Christ. It struck upon me that despite all the obstacles ahead of us, our identity in Christ, as brother and sister-in-Christ, trumps all other physical factors standing in our ways. It is the factor that should define how I lead in this relationship and how I should handle the tensions between the two of us, and the tension between my future in-laws and myself. After all, I know that God has divinely brought the two of us together (click on the link to read what happened back then) through His providence and sovereignty. And God removed the obstacles that may prevent us from getting together in courtship. So it is not the case that I come from my family and she comes from her family, but the case that we are now more than our identity as a member of our biological family, just as what Paul told Philemon in Phlm 16. 

I just thank God that as I am typing this reflection, the situation has improved quite a lot and I am anticipating that the situation will improve after our engagement ceremony in a few weeks time (and of course the end of my semester for the first half of the year). But the lessons learned remain. I do foresee that there will be future tensions, and there will be points when bad blood may happen between my future father-in-law and myself due to the differences in character and personality. 

The question is how would I manage the tensions that may spill over to my relationship with Angelina? How can we have a proper perspective of our relationship in Christ and practice biblical reconciliation? My findings from this module taught me to stay focused on my identity in Christ and that means that I might need to constantly take a step back to cool down and not let myself be too carried away in the tensions. 


  1. Preparing for a wedding is considered a major stress in life. The event concerns not just two individuals who are in live but two different sets of families (including relatives, family friends, etc.). Having a mindset of reconciliation when dealing with issues will certainly be of a great help. In the case of Philemon, it was he--the master, the more matured disciple--who was asked to take the first step to be gracious and forgive. Ultimately, it is not who is in the right or who is in the wrong. It is who we are in Christ that determines our behaviour. It boils down to our faith and our love.
    With all your assignments done by the end of April, you should be able to smile wider during the photoshoot.

    1. I still have to teach church history class as well as prepare for the Corinthians class... haha

  2. What is right? Who is right? What is our rights?

    Right in Christ is more important, and right in Christ comes down to how we response to building our relationship with God and with man. Blessings.

  3. Dear brother, I salute you, you are really very "zai"! In the midst of all these, you still can lead our group so well and helping me with formatting of the paper. Your labour of love is greatly appreciated. Keep you in prayer towards your big day.
    I was telling Serah that marriage is package deal, not just getting a spouse but the entire family for free. I also perceive your future problem with her mother in law. I pray I can get along with my future daughter in law when I pray for Samuel's future wife.

  4. Philemon has taught me a few lessons.There are perseverance, patience, tact, standing up for the weak, and most importantly faith and love. All three characters-Paul, Philemon and Onesimus have to demonstrates the faith and love they received from God in their deeds. I guess we can use these lessons in our life situations, especially when we encounters difficulties to obstacles.

  5. Love is easy before marriage, but not so after marriage.. sigh.. but all the more we need to uphold it after marriage as we are Christians. Just as Philemon taught us, love and forgiveness, and less of self-interest. May God give you wisdom to handle your future in-laws and have a blessed wedding!

  6. Hi Matthias, parents’s always love and protects their children. It may be a difficult start today but it is only for a time being because God is always with you and continually guides you according to His ways.

  7. Hi, Matthias, congratulations that you are writing a new page in your life book. Exciting, yet a bit anxious and nervous, right? Indeed, handling crisis and conflicts among human being is a tricky job, which requires skills and patience. Most of all, it makes us to pray for wisdom from the omniscient One who always exerts divine intervention to help His children on earth. Your will be godly husband, for sure. Jia You!

  8. Wedding preparation indeed can be quite stressful event. However, how to handle marriage in life is more testing and challenging than organising a wedding. I am sure that you will definitely able to find a way in handling this tension in your new family soon. God bless.

  9. Yes Matt, with the same grace and love Jesus showered us, extend the same to your future family-I-L. Great timing for learning Philemon even though stressful.

  10. I have posted my comments but somehow it didnt show.

    Matt, with lots of grace and love Jesus give us, you give the same to yr family-I-L. Perhaps...its a good time you are walking the Philemon Journey...blessings


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