Yes, brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ.
Paul is now concluding his appeal and he employs positive and persuasive language to Philemon. Paul is optimistic about his request and he expects the answer ´yes´ from Philemon. Though Paul was the spiritual father to Philemon he addresses him as brother. This is the same address he used of Onesimus in verse 16. This means that the apostle (Paul), master (Philemon), and slave (Onesimus) are all to be seen as equals before Christ. They are all brothers in Christ and Paul is deliberately dismantling hierarchical identity boundaries that constitute social stratification along economic and religious lines. Such boundaries have promoted evil social systems that have promoted slavery
In forgiving Onesimus, Philemon is expected not to further treat him as his slave but as his brother in Christ. This is what will give Paul joy in his heart. Again this demonstrates the level of Paul´s commitment to the freedom of Onesimus. Two takeaways for today are: 1.We should find joy in the forgiveness of others and not behave like the elder brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son. 2. We are all equal before Christ regardless of our social status in life