but because of our love, I prefer just to ask you. So take this as a request from your friend Paul, an old man, now in prison for the sake of Christ Jesus.
My plea is that you show kindness to Onesimus. I think of him as my own son because he became a believer as a result of my ministry here in prison.
Onesimus a hasn't been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us.
I am sending him back to you, and with him comes my own heart.
I really wanted to keep him here with me while I am in these chains for preaching the Good News, and he would have helped me on your behalf.
But I didn't want to do anything without your consent. And I didn't want you to help because you were forced to do it but because you wanted to.
Perhaps you could think of it this way: Onesimus ran away for a little while so you could have him back forever.
He is no longer just a slave; he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a slave and as a brother in the Lord.
So if you consider me your partner, give him the same welcome you would give me if I were coming.
If he has harmed you in any way or stolen anything from you, charge me for it.
I, Paul, write this in my own handwriting: "I will repay it." And I won't mention that you owe me your very soul!
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)