The key to understanding the book of Philemon is to recognise that it is a personal letter which is practically teaching on the topic of forgiveness. Through this letter Paul addresses issues such as; why should we forgive; how does forgiveness shape our character; and what it takes to bring restoration in situations where brokenness has taken place.
Part 1 - Why Forgive?
We are more than willing to receive the forgiveness of others. It is a little harder to be the one who forgives, especially when we have been hurt. Philemon and focus on the question, "Why should we forgive?"
Part 2 - Forgiveness Shapes Our Character
We are defined by the experiences we allow into our lives. When we have been forgiven we will have a forgiving character - Philemon has this character and we can learn from that.
Part 3 - Forgiveness Directs Our Actions
We will always be hurt at some stage and need to forgive. In order for this to happen RECOGNITION and RESTORATION needs to take place. The ultimate goal is to welcome all those who are in God’s family in the same way.