Philemon 8–16 (ESV)
Paul’s Plea for Onesimus
though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9 yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— 10 I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father
I became in my imprisonment. 11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) 12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. 13 I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf
during my imprisonment for the gospel, 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. 15 For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him
back forever, 16 no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
To often, people try to
make slavery the issue and that the Bible endorses slavery. That is not the case. It is true that Onesimus is a slave and it is true that Paul maintains a neutral position on the slavery issue. This is true, but the issue here is not slavery,
but sin. Whether slave or freeman, Onesimus stole something and then ran away. He becomes a Christian and Paul is teaching the importance of repentance and reconciliation. He is sending Onesimus back to Philemon. His appeal is to the
master, to remember that he (Philemon) is a Christian... and now Onesimus is a fellow brother in Christ. Philemon is to practice forgiveness, even when it personally involves him. Christians sometimes talk big about forgiveness until it affects
their pocket book. Then, forgiveness is thrown out the window.
I pray: O Lord, help me to be a forgiving person, not just by words, but through action. I repent of my sins and want to do
better. I also know that I am to forgive those who trespass against me. Help me Lord. Amen.