Let’s open our Bibles to Philemon. This short letter in the NT portrays for us a network of relationships. There’s the Apostle Paul who is in a prison in Rome for preaching the Gospel. He’s writing to his friend Philemon who is a leading man in the church in Colossae, whom Paul led to Christ. Philemon had a slave by the name of Onesimus who ran away from Philemon, perhaps stealing from him in the process. Onesimus made his way to Rome where, in the providence of God, he comes into contact with Paul. Paul leads Onesimus to Christ, and knowing his story knows that he needs to go back to Philemon. However, it will be difficult for Onesimus to go back to face his master whom he has offended, and it will be difficult for Philemon to accept the man who offended him. So let’s pick up reading in vv.12-21.
When things like this happen it’s much easier to fix blame than it is to fix problems.