I love it when people do me a favor. It’s not always easy to return the favor, because sometimes favors can cost me time or money. There are times when a favor costs both. Forgiveness is a favor that seems expensive because I have to lay down some pride in order to forgive deeply and completely.
Paul is writing a letter to this man Philemon who is a strong Christian leader and even has a church meeting at his home. In the salutation Paul even greets Philemon’s wife and son. I’m guessing that they were harmed as well. Onesimus had once been their slave and had escaped and connected up with Paul in Rome. Paul is sending Onesimus back where he belongs to the household of Philemon. Paul leans heavily on his relationship with Philemon to welcome Onesimus and forgive him. Check this out….12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord. 17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask. (Philemon 12-21 NIV)
I believe that as a believer, forgiveness should be something that I practice often. The Lord for my many sins and mistakes has forgiven me. I believe that I’m expected to forgive – it’s not optional. Forgiveness is giving up my right to retaliate against the one who’s wronged me. Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation and restoration. Forgiveness trusts the Lord to do the punishing of the one who’s wronged me. My role is letting God have control of my struggle. When a person asked for forgiveness they might just be asking for the biggest favor of your life or theirs.Pressing On! Dwayne