The Attributes of Forgiveness – Part 3
Read: Philemon 17-25
Coach, as we coach our football teams, we want them to play with great enthusiasm, energy and effort. In order to do that they must see that same enthusiasm, energy and effort in the way we coach. When our players see this, it will Exhilarate them. In other words, it will inspire our players to play with great enthusiasm, energy and effort. Coach, do you coach in such a way that your players are Exhilarated? In this morning’s passage of Scripture Paul wants to be Exhilarated by Philemon in the area of Forgiveness.
We are in the process of examining Philemon 17-25 where the Lord through Paul gives us 7 Attributes of Forgiveness in order that we would Exhibit Forgiveness to the Glory of God. We have already discovered the first 2 Attributes of Forgiveness: 1) Forgiveness is Exhaustive in Scope & 2) Forgiveness is Expensive in Cost. In this week’s devotion we will discover the 3rd Attribute of Forgiveness: 3) Forgiveness is Exhilarating to others.
Look with me at verse 20: “Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.” Notice the phrase: “I want some benefit from you in the Lord.” Specifically notice the word ‘benefit.’ This word is from the same root word as Onesimus. Just as we saw in verse 11 Paul is using a play on words here with the word Onesimus which also means useful or benefit. Paul is asking Philemon to be his ‘Onesimus’ or ‘benefit.’
Now notice the phrase ‘in the Lord.’ This points to the fact that the benefit would be spiritual. Philemon’s forgiveness of Onesimus would bring a spiritual benefit to Paul. What would this spiritual benefit be? The spiritual benefit is seen in the last phrase of verse 20 – ‘Refresh my heart in Christ.’ Back in verse 7 Paul said about Philemon – ‘the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.’ Philemon’s love was Exhilarating to the church. It energized them to love like he did. Here in verse 20 Paul is saying to Philemon, “By forgiving Onesimus, you will Refresh my heart just as you refreshed the hearts of the saints in Colossae. “
The spiritual benefit Paul sought from Philemon was to be refreshed orExhilarated by Philemon’s Christ-like Forgiveness of Onesimus. Philemon’s Forgiveness would Exhilarate or energize and inspire Paul to continue to be Christ-like in his forgiveness of others.
A few years ago, I watched a video about a father and son named Dick and Rick Hoyt. The son, Rick, was born with cerebral palsy and is unable to walk or talk. In 1979 Rick (Rick was 17) was at a basketball game and heard about a benefit for a cross country runner who had been paralyzed. Dick remembers his son coming home and communicating to him, "Dad, we have to do something for him. I want to show him that life goes on even though he is paralyzed." So, Dick pushed his son in his wheelchair during the 5-mile benefit run. Since that time, they have done over 1,000 Marathons and Triathlons together.
As I watched this video, I was inspired by the dedication of this father to his son – I was Exhilarated and inspired to be an even better father. In a similar way Paul wanted to be Exhilarated by Philemon in the area of Forgiveness.
Coach, when your family, fellow coaches and players see forgiveness exhibited in your life it will Exhilarate them in such a way that they will be inspired to forgive others. Coach, is there someone in your life you need to forgive? Know, that by God’s grace in you, you can forgive them. Also know, when you forgive them in will Exhilarate those you lead to forgive others as well. Coach, by God’s grace, be an Exhilarator of Forgiveness so others are blessed and God is glorified.
Have a great week!