Paul informs Philemon, “If [Onesimus] has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.” (v. 18 NIV) In the Greek, the word used for “wrong” indicates some form of damage was done, and the word for “owe” indicates a financial debt. There was a real issue for Philemon, real hurt and loss. This could have been a major roadblock to everything that Paul has asked of Philemon.
By making this promise Paul is removing one more obstacle to reconciliation between Onesimus and Philemon. This not only frees Onesimus the burden of paying back what he owes but also frees Philemon the burden which could lead to unforgiveness in his heart over his losses. Paul knows that Philemon was human and the situation could seriously affect Philemon’s relationship with God. Paul wants Philemon to grow.
This is a picture of our relationship with God and our need for Jesus. Christ lifts our burdens and provides for our needs, so that we can have a right relationship with God the Father, as well as with each other. We simply have to turn to him and allow it.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)
Reflection: What roadblock stands in your way of having a godly relationship with someone else? Ask Jesus to help you, to remove that obstacle and to restore that relationship.