Recently I received a letter telling me that I had failed to pay a bill that I owed. That was not the case, and so the argument in my mind began to develop so that I might get it all corrected. My first action was to get my brain in the proper attitude before I attempted to deal with the situation. I had no intention of belittling anyone, and to do so to a computer would be useless.
Next, I wrote a short letter to the sender, informing them of the obvious… the billing was not mine to pay. Firmly, I then sent the bill to my Insurance Company. The lady who was dealing with my account with them concluded that I had a credit on my account, so the individual had no claim, and it would be cared for.
Well, when I received another bill from the initial sender, it was time to get this corrected once and for all. My daughter said, delightfully, “Let me take care of it.” With that, in her calm and factual way she acquired the information. The company replied, “We have no record of this item, but we will take care of it. Just send the bill to us!” I have no idea what will happen next, however, somewhere out there I have a debit or a credit on my account that does not exist.
All of this led me to the little Book of Philemon. (Remember, we looked at this on a previous occasion.) There was this slave of Philemon that ran away. In a unique way he ended up under Paul, the apostle, and through his ministry was saved. Gradually, he began to assist Paul and his background unraveled. Paul, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, sent him back to Philemon with the letter which we are looking at.
In particular, Paul praises Philemon and then says: “Therefore though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do what is proper, yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you—since I am such a person as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus—I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me. I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart, whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel; but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will. For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me.”
The picture is graphic, but lest we miss the key ingredient: “But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, CHARGE THAT TO MY ACCOUNT.” As I said previously, at this moment I am uncertain if I have a debit or a credit on my account. Of one thing I am certain; we can all learn from the letter to Philemon. No matter what another has done to you in a negative manner, you and I owe a debt to the Lord to forgive, “even as God, in Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32) Keep your account current!