Paul’s Plea for Onesimus – Philemon 1:8-12 (NIV)
Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you.
Paul is pleading with Philemon on behalf of Onesimus – telling Philemon to show kindness to Onesimus. Onesimus was ministered to by Paul while in the Roman prison. Paul was therefore his spiritual father by implication. A time came when Paul decided to send Onesimus back to his master Philemon. However, there had to be reconciliation between Philemon and Onesimus and this was facilitated by Paul.
Reconciliation or to reconcile, is to restore friendly relations between people. This was an outstanding move by Paul because he did just what Jesus did for us. Do you know it is scriptural that the ministry of reconciliation has been given to us? Yes it has!
2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (NIV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
Therefore, in order for reconciliation to occur, it has to involve more than one person. It is an attempt to bridge the gap (in this case God and humans; Philemon and Onesimus). There has to be a middle man. Jesus and Paul respectively.
Reconciliation is a Christ-like action and a gift to us. Therefore, in order for reconciliation to have a lasting effect, it must be done HIS way. The goal of the middle man in reconciling is to make sure that the one who is being reconciled no longer appears bad.
Reconciliation is aimed at having an eternal benefit. So when in position to reconcile and doubt whether or not it is the right thing to do, ask yourself this question. Will this action lead to an eternal benefit?
So, as a Brother’s Keeper, remember to use the gift of reconciliation for the glory of the Lord. Amen.