Summary: Forgiving is easy to tell someone else but very hard for each one of us. Forgiving takes the power out of the hands of the offender and allows God to provide healing to you.
Forgive like Philemon
This morning I want to talk to you about forgiveness.
Right away we can think of many that should hear this message. But you are here this morning and God wants to speak to each one of us about forgiveness.
When someone hurts you, you can hold unto the anger, resentment, and have revengeful thoughts, or you can embrace forgiveness and move forward.
The choice is yours and many are hurting from hurting things that have happened to them years ago because they have not chosen to forgive and move forward.
I have not said forgive and forget, because that principal is not in the Bible, but forgiving and moving forward is a God directed principal.
Nearly every one of us has been hurt by the actions of others.
If you haven’t, just wait, it will happen.
We have had people meanly criticize us, colleagues sabotage us, and loved ones we have trusted hurt us deeply.
These wounds definitely hurt us and if not dealt with correctly can cause bitterness and can even make people do and say things they would never do.
Right up front I will tell you that forgiveness is your decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. Then letting God help through the process and picking you up when you are weak.
That act or offense might remain a part of your life forever, but forgiveness helps you focus on the positive parts of your life instead of the negative that brings you down.
Forgiveness does not mean that you deny the other persons responsibility for hurting you , it does not minimize the wrong.
You can forgive the person without excusing the act, and you can forgive and not want to put yourself in a dangerous spot again.
Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make you a happier person.
Forgiveness leads to
Greater well being
Less stress, anxiety, and hostility
Lower blood pressure
Fewer problems with depression
That is what the medical field says about it- this comes from the Mayo Clinic.
God said the same thing first and adds that spiritually we cannot allow someone bring us down, cause our faith to suffer, and live below the standard that God desires for each believer.
I said all of that as a background to our text this morning found in the book of Philemon.
Philemon is a one page book in the Bible between the book of Titus and the book of Hebrews.
The writing in Philemon is personal letter between the apostle Paul and a fellow believer Philemon.
Philemon was a very rich believer that came out of the church at Colossae who owned slaves. Many at that time did.
Philemon had a slave named Onesimus, who stole some property and ran away. By Roman law, Philemon could have Onesimus caught and killed for abandoning his owner.
While this went on, Onesimus the runaway slave encountered the apostle Paul and became a believer. This starts the dilemma- apostle Paul gets attached to Onesimus the slave who confessed what he did, and apostle Paul found Philemon who understood the law and now wanted Philemon to man up and do the right thing.
Although the letter is addressed to the church, a home church started in the city Colossae, it was a personal letter also to Philemon to do something that was bigger than just what he is entitled to do by the law.
Now that you see and understand the background, you can see some principals of God that need to be applied and why Paul approached the situation the way that he did.
Forgiveness is a choice (1 point message)
It is a choice that you make and nobody but you can make it.
Your choice is to forgive, or your choice is to hold onto the offense and keep living it out in your life.
If you decide to be unforgiving, you will develop anger and bitterness that spills over into other relationships. It becomes easier and easier to not forgive because that is your right.
You plant a root of un-forgiveness or you plant forgiveness.
We have all met people that live their lives bitter because they have not forgiven and it affects their lives every day.
Apostle Paul approaches Philemon- “ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do- yet I appeal to you on the basis of love.”
He knew it was the right thing- We know what is the right thing to do is.
He made Philemon think of all the times he had offended and hurt someone.
How many times other people have forgiven him when he had hurt someone, or put his foot in his mouth and said something that he shouldn’t have said.