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Summary: The ingredient that separates the men from the boys, and the girls from the women, the mature from the immature spiritually is the ability to have a heart of forgiveness for those that have wronged you...

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"THE FORGIVENESS FACTOR"

Text: 1 Sam. 24:1-15

What ingredient is it that makes a man or woman great in the sight of God? Is it their ability to pay back every act of unkindness or offense against them through vengeance? Is it their ability to do all they can to expose and damage the character of that person so that all will know and feel as they do, therefore justifying their own bitterness? After all, the more who side with them in bitterness, shouldn’t that prove their rightness?

I believe the ingredient that separates the men from the boys, and the girls from the women, the mature from the immature spiritually is the ability to have a heart of forgiveness for those that have wronged you...

There have been about 60 conclusive studies that show a clear connection between the health of the body and the effects of unforgiveness. In one study, vengeful thoughts (for as little as 16 seconds) led to an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and a decrease in T-cell counts (disease fighters). This is due to the hormone cortisol that is released in the body as a stress response. Researchers have known for years that stress is a strong risk factor for disease. In another study, people who suffer from chronic, long-term anxiety, depression and anger had thicker blood due to higher red blood cell counts, putting them at a greater risk of strokes and heart problems. Under chronic stress, less essential functions such as digestion and immunity are put on hold.

On the positive side, research show that when we practice forgiveness, the level of cortisol in our bodies decreases. As levels of anger and hostility drop, our ability to love and feel loved improve and as well as mental and emotional health. The immune system improves as well as cardiovascular functioning. Forgiveness can actually make you healthier, happier and maybe even slimmer! No wonder God says to forgive. The creator of our bodies knows we were not designed to hold on to grudges.

We can look at no greater example, other than Jesus Christ in the word, than the man after God’s own heart, David.

What is it that made David a man after God’s own heart? I don’t know all of the reasons, but I do believe today that one of the greatest characteristics of God also was one of David’s greatest Characteristics as well...

Even as God is a God of loving forgiveness in His heart for anyone who asks, David as we see in our text was a man who lived a life of forgiveness, not only during the story we just read, but when he became King of Israel...

Here was a man who dodged the attempts of King Saul upon his life a total of 21 times while his heart remained tender and forgiving towards his assailant!

Time after time after time the bitterness and anger of Saul kindled against David to try and slay him...

I believe the ingredient that kept David right with God was that ability to forgive even in spite of tremendous efforts to hurt and destroy his life...

We are often so taken up with the thought that someone has hurt or offended us, and when it really gets down to it, the reasons are often extremely petty.


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