Onesimus Has To Face The Music

Philemon 2 is a story about forgiveness. I think we can all relate and think of a time where we did something before we knew Christ, only to be saved and now have to face the problem you created. Onesimus had to do that very thing in this story.


The chapter starts off with Paul writing to someone named Philemon. We learned in Chapter 1 that Philemon was a guy that Paul brought to know the faith and it changed his life. Philemon went back to where he lived to tell others about the gospel and he grew to be a major part of the church. Now chapter 2 we find out that Philemon had a bondservant named Onesimus. Onesimus did something to Philemon, the passage hints toward him stealing something because Paul offers to put Onesimus’s debt on his “tab.”


Onesimus, after stealing from Philemon, runs off to Rome and happens to meet Paul. Paul teaches him the gospel and he becomes a Christ Follower. Now the story could have ended right there. Paul could have used Onesimus to help him out with ministry in Rome, but check out what he does!


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.


Do you see the maturity in this passage? Paul is good friends with Philemon and as he got to know Onesimus he found out that he was one of Philemon’s bondservants. He could have just sent him a letter and kept Onesimus, or not even have written a letter to him BUT he didn’t. He chose to get his friend’s consent. Have you ever done something behind someone’s back thinking they would never find out…. and they did? Paul is so mature in his faith that he wants to make things right with Philemon and Onesimus rather than selfishly keeping him for his own intentions. Even though his intentions were good.


I think the moral of the story is think about the decisions you make and how they affect not only yourself but others. Also be willing to forgive someone who has wronged you, especially if they didn’t know Christ at the time that they wronged you. Have a great Thursday everyone!