Paul embodies the life of reconciliation. But reconciliation is not devoid of tact and graciousness. In Paul’s appeal to Philemon he begins with grace and greetings, rather than accusation and forceful terms. Paul’s reconciliatory letter is a mediatorial letter. Pastors–in one sense–and parishioners–in another sense–carry this mediatorial role.
Reconciling Philemon and Onesimus requires wisdom; a wisdom that we need to exercise in reconciling brothers and the world. Like Jesus, reconciliation first demands death before life can be breathed into brokenness.