How often do we suffer when are we separated from people and start panicking that we may never find them again? In this story, apostle Paul tells us that sometimes, the Lord allows our separation from people to drag them near Him, before sending them back to us. Today, let’s look at what happened to Philemon’s slave Onesimus who had run away from His master and was now ready to return to him as a wi…lling slave. Now Apostle Paul intervened by writing a letter to Philemon, assuring him that Onesimus would now serve him wholeheartedly. Why? Because the culture of the day gave masters complete control over their slaves and severe punishment usually faced a runaway. But Apostle Paul challenged Philemon to think of Onesimus more as a brother than as a slave. On the one side it was not easy for Onesimus to return and face his old life, though as a person, on the other side, Apostle Paul was appealing Philemon to exercise Christian love, not power or authority. More than that, Apostle Paul went on to say he would pay any cost for restoration: “If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me” (verse 18).
My brother, my sister, how often do we expect people to pay us back for the wrong they caused us when they left us? Some people will even hold grudges in their heart for life and claim that they have forgotten what the person who had abandoned them might have done. The fact is, what was important for Apostle Paul was the restoration of a trusting relationship between Philemon and Onesimus, through reconciliation. My friend, reconciliation means reestablishing a relationship. Reconciliation is a ministry we were all given: “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” ( 2 Corinthians 5:18). In our societies, we can see barriers everywhere: race, social status, sex, personality differences. Even worse, the emotional abandonment in couples or families is causing more havoc, because people are no longer trusting each other where brotherly love should reign. But Christ can break down all these barriers as He changed Onesimus’ relationship to Philemon from slave to brother. If you are struggling in a relationship, trust in Jesus because He can transform any relationship, even the most desperate, into a deep and loving one. Stay blessed in Jesus’ name.