"...but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntery and not something forced."
Philemon is such an interesting letter/story. Paul is writing to his friend-in-faith, Philemon. The letter is delivered by Onesiumus - a man who used to be Philemon's slave, but ran away! He became close friends with Paul. So Paul sent him back to Philemon (as the law required), but asked that he willingly release Onesimus so he an come back and be part of Paul's ministry team. (Can you imagine how that scene played out!?!)
In the letter, Paul writes that he could compel Philemon to release Onesimus... or, he could have simply kept him and told Philemon that the situation with Onesimus has changed. But instead he sent him back - so Philemon could choose to release him on his own. Paul knew there is great power (and HEALING!) when one is allowed to choose to let go. Philemon not only had to let go of Onesimus, but also of the great pain, bitterness, and resentment that he must have harbored in his heart towards him.
Which begs us to ask... What might we need to willingly let go of? Control of relationships? Past hurts? Resentments? Personal will? What "voluntary good deed" might lead to healing, restoration, and new life... in us or in others? Hmmm... maybe this runaway slave has something to teach us even today!?!