I, Paul, am a prisoner for the sake of Christ, here with my brother Timothy. I write this letter to you, Philemon, my good friend and companion in this work—also to our sister Apphia, to Archippus, a real trooper, and to the church that meets in your house. God’s best to you! Christ’s blessings on you! With a greeting like that, don’t you want to dive right into the rest of the letter? That’s what Paul hoped since the news he was sharing challenged his friend Philemon to make a choice. At stake was reconciliation and restoration with a person who had wronged Philemon in the past. So why is this letter addressed to so many people in addition to Philemon, and why do we get access to it now so many years after it was written?
I believe that we seldom make a big decision that does not significantly affect others in our community. Paul wanted God’s Kingdom to expand in Philemon’s life and also within everyone who met in his house church so that the whole community would be more like Jesus and be blessed. The strong argument that Paul makes is based on Christ’s love and forgiveness. We as followers of Jesus should also seek to live out the godly principles of reconciliation and restoration. Regardless of the way the world would handle a situation or how our feelings might dictate, it is wise to consider what Jesus would want us to do. Philemon had been blessed not just to be blessed but also to be a blessing. Likewise our blessings should not end with us, they should extend to others.