So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.
Paul takes his plea to the next level. The plea now intensifies as Paul appeal to his friendship with Philemon as partners of the gospel. Paul is not just appealing for Onesimus´ forgiveness but for his complete freedom from, slavery. How does Paul do this? He offers himself in exchange for the runaway slave. Philemon should receive Onesimus as if he is receiving Paul himself. This implies that Philemon is no longer receiving Onesimus as a slave but as an equal partner in the preaching of the gospel. The implication of Paul´s request is that if Philemon denies welcoming or forgiving Onesimus, he is also denying his relationship with Paul.
Philemon is now caught in a big dilemma that is to forego the legal requirements for punishing a runaway slave and forgive Onesimus or to punish Onesimus according to the legal requirements and forego his partnership with Paul in the preaching of the gospel. The most attractive way here is to forego the legal requirements, forgive Onesimus and inherit eternal life. Two takeaways for today; 1. Successful bargaining happens when they are good relationships. 2. Empathy is the key driver in negotiating someone´s freedom