Summary: Some practical steps to forgive others.
(based on a series by Darryl Dash)
SERIES: “DISCOVER FORGIVENESS: Finding Freedom Through Forgiveness”
TEXT: PHILEMON 1-25
TITLE: “FOUR VITAL PROCESSES IN FORGIVING OTHERS”
OPEN: A. Melvin Newland, a Christian church preacher in Texas tells about an incident he witnessed at a
There he stood, in the midst of the Golden Corral restaurant one Sunday afternoon with
Thousand Island dressing dripping from his hair, over his glasses, down his face, all over his
jacket, pants, and shoes. And I’m not talking about a little bit of Thousand Island dressing. I’m
talking about 2 gallons of it! What had happened was that a waitress carrying a 2-gallon container
of Thousand Island dressing for the salad bar had paused for just a second while coming through
the swinging doors of the kitchen, and the doors had caught her and knocked her forward,
launching 2 gallon of dressing all over this guy.
Well, he went ballistic! He started shouting and cursing at her. “You’re so stupid! I can’t
believe you could do such a stupid, stupid thing. This is a brand new suit and it coast me $300.”
His wife chimed in, “Yeah, you’ve ruined my husband’s $300 suit, and it’s the first time he’s had a
chance to wear it.” The man screamed, “I want to see the manager!”
Thoroughly shaken, the waitress went to get the manager. The manager came out of the back.
Now picture this – here’s a guy with 2 gallons of Thousand Island dressing dripping from him, and
the manager asks, “Is there a problem?”
the guy replies, “Is there a problem? She’s ruined my $300 suit. It’s brand new, and I want a
new suit to replace it!” The manger says, “We’ll be glad to get your suit cleaned. Accidents do
happen and we’re really sorry about this.” The man yells, “No! No1” I don’t want my suit
cleaned. I want a brand new suit, and I demand $300 right here and now!” To avoid a bigger
scene, the manager goes back into his office and brings out $300 and gives it to the irate customer.
And justice is served.
Tragically, this true story happened at noon on a Sunday, Now why would someone be wearing
a brand new suit on Sunday? Do you suppose he had bee to … the ball game? Do you suppose he
had been … working on his car? Do you suppose he had been to church?
B. Last Sunday morning, we began our series: “Discover Forgiveness: Finding Freedom Through
1. We looked at the starting point of forgiveness
--the cross of Christ
2. We studied Jesus’ parable about the Unforgiving Servant
--In that study we learned several basic things concerning forgiveness:
a. True forgiveness goes beyond any reasonable human limits
b. We have to understand how lavishly God has forgiven us
c. We have to forgive others as lavishly and completely as God has forgiven us
d. We also heard Jesus’ warning that if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us
C. C.S. Lewis: “We all agree that forgiveness is a beautiful idea until we have to practice it.”
1. Our lesson of forgiveness this morning is not in parable or principle but in personal experience
2. We’re going to be looking at Paul’s letter to Philemon
--I’ve heard this letter called “the Postcard with a Punch”
a. It’s one of the letters that Paul wrote while he was imprisoned in Rome
--along with Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus
b. It’s also one of the few “personal letters that is included in the new Testament
--written to a person named Philemon
D. Philemon 1-25 – “Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,
To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow
soldier and to the church that meets in your home: Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ. I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear
about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pray that you may be active in
sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.
Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the
hearts of the saints. Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you
ought to do, yet I appeal to you on the basis of love. I then, as Paul—an old man and now also a
prisoner of Christ Jesus— I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was
in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. I