“For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.” Philemon 1:7
Paul is saying to Philemon, we have great joy and consolation in your love, because you have taken it upon yourself to refresh other believers, and “hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints,” “I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me.” Philemon 1:10-11
Onesimus means “useful” but as far as Philemon was concerned, he was useless.
In Matthew 25:14 Jesus says,
“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.”
After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. He which had received one talent was a wicked, slothful and unprofitable servant. Onesimus had become that unprofitable and he fell out with his master and either ran away or was imprisoned. But after meeting Paul he got born again and his life changed for the good – was before “unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me.”
We expect christians to be of their best behaviour but sometimes it’s not always the case. “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision.” Titus 1:10
So Paul is saying to Philemon, I have great joy and consolation in your love, because you have taken it upon yourself to refresh other believers, “I beseech thee for my son Onesimus…thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels…both in the flesh, and in the Lord.”
We irritate others, scream, shout, yell, distrust, have emotional outbursts, worry, appear anxious, have low self-esteem or confidence, criticise, curse, hit, steal, fraudulent, hate, intolerable, fear, cry, die, stress, and self-injurious behaviours, and the list goes on. With all these behaviours we somehow offend and annoy others.
But Paul to Phelimon is saying prove the sincerity of your love by forgiving and reconciling. Don’t be kind because you have to but because you wanted to.
“Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.  Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Philemon 1:20-21,25
– refresh one another, not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.