Influential Forgiveness

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (Philemon 1:4-7 ESV)
Forgiveness means to carry, to take up, to pardon, and to be lenient. It also means to make amends, to be merciful, to put away a hurt. Finally, it means to show favor, to send away a grievance and to disregard the same.
How is a person who forgives an influence for God and for good? Or to put it another way in light of a conversation I had with someone last week, “Why should I forgive?”  According to Philemon 4-7, a forgiving person displays their love for God.
In vs. 4-5a, Paul writing to Philemon says, “I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers.” Whenever Paul thought of Philemon while in prayer, he was always thankful for his brother in Christ. The sense is that this was a common occurrence for Paul. His gratitude for Philemon was consistent. What a testimony Philemon had with the apostle. What an encouragement he must have been. 
Why was Paul thankful for Philemon? The text continues by saying, “Because I hear of your love.” Philemon possessed a self-sacrificial love of the will. This kind of love comes only from God. It is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It is a manifestation of true, saving faith (Galatians 5:6; I John 3:14). 
Galatians 5:6 - For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor un-circumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. (Galatians 5:6 ESV)
I John 3:14 - We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. (1 John 3:14 ESV)
Paul was always able to give thanks to God for Philemon. His brother possessed a godly and virtuous character. There is no suggestion there was anything amiss in Philemon’s life. The perspective by Paul of Philemon forgiving Onesimus was expected.