Philemon 17–20 (ESV)
Paul’s Plea for Onesimus
17 So if
you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own
self. 20 Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.
Paul is teaching us about reconciliation and I think, how to live the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus
taught us to pray in the 5th Petition: “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Luther explains in his Small Catechism: “What does this mean? We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven
would not look upon our sins, nor deny such petitions on account of them; for we are worthy of none of the things for which we pray, neither have we deserved them; but that He would grant them all to us by grace; for we daily sin much, and indeed deserve nothing
but punishment. So will we verily, on our part, also heartily forgive and also readily do good to those who sin against us.” Paul is calling on both Philemon and Onesimus to ask and receive forgiveness. Too often, we want forgiveness, but
are not willing to forgive others because of hurt feelings, financial loss, or maybe the loss of a loved one. It’s hard when it becomes personal. But we are to be a forgiving people.
O Lord, help me to live the 5th Petition as I pray “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Even when I have been personally hurt, whether my feelings, friendship, loved ones, business, or even
enemy... help me to turn to you on the cross and to know my sins are forgiven and to help me be a forgiving person. Amen.