I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,
Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;
That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
Paul didn’t need to take a course in administration, or go to a seminar on how to talk to people. He was led by the Holy Spirit in his words to Philemon, and he knew that a good way to get someone’s attention and listening ear was to sincerely compliment him. Paul was not being manipulative here. His words are sincere.
Philemon was a good and godly man, known as such by all who knew him.
Wouldn’t you love to know that a man like Paul prayed for you on a regular basis? Wouldn’t it encourage you to know that you were mentioned in the daily prayers of a good and godly man? And that you were mentioned for your love of God and of other believers with whom you had to do? To know that Paul was praying that the daily living (communication) of Philemon’s faith would be effective by Philemon’s recognition of all the good in himself because of Christ?
I would certainly be motivated to become worthy of such a wonderful opinion of a believer of Paul’s stature, or of anyone else for that matter. Many years ago, I heard a woman say that any time she received a compliment she would write it down as soon as she could, and add it to a list she kept at home; then she would pray that the Lord would give her the grace to truly be whatever the compliment was; that she would live up to that person’s opinion of her. I loved that, and have kept my own log ever since. Doing so has taught me that in myself I am weak and selfish, but in Christ I am a new person, dependent wholly upon Him to mold me into what He wants me to be.
It is quite humbling to see yourself through another person’s eyes, knowing that any good thing that person sees in you is only by God’s grace.