Philemon was probably a wealthy member of the Colossian church and the master of the runaway slave, Onesimus . Paul wrote this letter in about A.D. 60 in order to convince Philemon to forgive Onesimus and welcome him back as a brother in Christ.
From The Daily Walk, December 6/7, 2008:
Reconciling a difference is never easy and seldom pleasant, but Paul's letter provides a much-needed model in the delicate task of asking for and accepting forgiveness.
Paul does not minimize the wrong suffered. Forgiveness is not blind to the facts, and Paul does not condone Onesimus's behavior toward Philemon. At the same time, Paul pleads for forgiveness on the basis of another's merit. Forgiving one another is possible because Jesus provided the model.
Paul promises to repay any debt owed by Onesimus. Forgiveness demands personal involvement. There is a price to be paid in terms of time, money, or inconvenience if estranged parties are to be reconciled.
After seeing Paul's model, look at your own relationships. Should you take the first step in forgiving a brother or sister in Christ? It will never be any easier than it is today.PRAYER
Lord, forgive us our trespasses; as we forgive those who trespass against us. Amen.