The Destructive Path of Unforgiveness

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This message deals with the destructive effects of an unforgiving spirit. This is the second message in the series.

The Destructive Path of Unforgiveness
Forgiveness: Pathway To Freedom / Forgiveness; Freedom; Unforgiveness / 1 Samuel 18:28–29
This message deals with the destructive effects of an unforgiving spirit.
This is the second message in the series.
ETS: King Saul bore the consequences of allowing an unforgiving spirit to rule his life.
ESS: An unforgiving spirit will make a fool of anyone.
OSS: Believers will repent of an unforgiving spirit.
PQ: Where does an unforgiving spirit lead a person?
UW: Steps
1 Samuel 18:28-29
28 When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and how much his daughter Michal loved him, 29 Saul became even more afraid of him, and he remained David’s enemy for the rest of his life.
A. What we learned last week:
1- Forgiveness has three essential elements:
a. injury
b. a debt resulting from the injury
c. a cancellation of the debt
B- When the process of forgiveness is cut-short of its completion, the individual becomes fixated in the second part.
1- Since the debt is not cancelled, the debtor is fixated in the demand payment mode.
2- The one who committed the offence is held hostage until payment is made in full.
3- When the debt is not paid in full, the debtor is forced into a path that has devastating results on the debtor.
C- In our text, we find an intriguing situation:
1. David had been sent by his father Jesse to check on his brothers in the battlefield.
2. David had Killed the Philistine Giant Goliath.
3. The Israelite women in the victory processional praised for David for the victory over the Philistines, offering higher compliments to David than the King, thereby offending Saul.
4. Even though David had done nothing to Saul, there was a perceived offence for which Saul irrationally held David responsible.
5. Saul’s unforgiving spirit led him down a dangerous path.
a. Dangerous for himself.
b. Dangerous for his family.
c. Dangerous for David.
d. Dangerous for troops loyal to both David and Saul.
e. Dangerous for Israel.
D. Harboring an unforgiving spirit will lead any individual down a destructive path for that person and will affect scores of people around them.
TS: Notice the steps that King Saul took as he walked the pathway of unforgiveness.


A- JEALOUSY (1 Samuel 18:8-9)

8 This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!” 9 So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.
1. Saul allowed the accolades of the people to create the illusion that David was his enemy.
a. The perceived threat caused Saul to distrust David, resulting in jealousy.
2. When there is an offence or perceived offence that is not dealt with and forgiven, Jealousy and distrust begin to set in.
a. Jealousy has no place in a believer’s life.
(1 Peter 2:1)
1 So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.

B. ANXIETY (1 Samuel 18:12- 16).

12 Saul was then afraid of David, for the Lord was with David and had turned away from Saul. 13 Finally, Saul sent him away and appointed him commander over 1,000 men, and David faithfully led his troops into battle. 14 David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the Lord was with him. 15 When Saul recognized this, he became even more afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David because he was so successful at leading his troops into battle.
1. Saul became anxious and fearful of David. He became obsessed with the perceived threat.
a. Saul was consumed by his fear and anxiety, while David faithfully carried out his assigned duties.
2. The longer that an unforgiving spirit is allowed to exist, the higher our anxiety and fear levels rise.
a. Whether the offence is real or perceived is immaterial. If the issue is not dealt with through forgiveness, the greater the fear and anxiety levels will continue to grow in our hearts and minds.
(Luke 12:25-26)
25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

C. DECEIT (1 Samuel 18:17-27) .

17 One day Saul said to David, “I am ready to give you my older daughter, Merab, as your wife. But first you must prove yourself to be a real warrior by fighting the Lord’s battles.” For Saul thought, “I’ll send him out against the Philistines and let them kill him rather than doing it myself.” 18 “Who am I, and what is my family in Israel that I should be the king’s son-in-law?” David exclaimed. “My father’s family is nothing!” 19 So when the time came for Saul to give his daughter Merab in marriage to David, he gave her instead to Adriel, a man from Meholah. 20 In the meantime, Saul’s daughter Michal had fallen in love with David, and Saul was delighted when he heard about it. 21 “Here’s another chance to see him killed by the Philistines!” Saul said to himself. But to David he said, “Today you have a second chance to become my son-in-law!” 22 Then Saul told his men to say to David, “The king really likes you, and so do we. Why don’t you accept the king’s offer and become his son-in-law?” 23 When Saul’s men said these things to David, he replied, “How can a poor man from a humble family afford the bride price for the daughter of a king?” 24 When Saul’s men reported this back to the king, 25 he told them, “Tell David that all I want for the bride price is 100 Philistine foreskins! Vengeance on my enemies is all I really want.” But what Saul had in mind was that David would be killed in the fight. 26 David was delighted to accept the offer. Before the time limit expired, 27 he and his men went out and killed 200 Philistines. Then David fulfilled the king’s requirement by presenting all their foreskins to him. So Saul gave his daughter Michal to David to be his wife.
1. Saul began to plot deviously to bring about David’s downfall – even his death.
a. In Saul’s mind the debt of David’s perceived offence could only be paid for by death.
b. Saul began to manipulate circumstances ... he was taking matters into his own hands.
2. An unforgiving spirit left unchecked, will lead to plans to get even for the offence.
a. Since sin produces a debt, and a debt must be paid, we will naturally attempt to make the offending party pay the debt.
b. We begin to have imaginary discussions and interactions in which the offending party is made to pay the debt.
(Romans 12:17-20)
17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. 20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”


A. RAGE (1 Samuel 18:10-11) .

10 The very next day a tormenting spirit from God overwhelmed Saul, and he began to rave in his house like a madman. David was playing the harp, as he did each day. But Saul had a spear in his hand, 11 and he suddenly hurled it at David, intending to pin him to the wall. But David escaped him twice.
1. Saul allowed the jealousy and distrust to develop into anger that erupted in an uncontrolled way.
a. It even caused him to attempt to kill David.
1. Jealousy and distrust will ultimately lead to anger.
a). Anger is caused by a perceived threat. It is an internal reaction whose aim is self-preservation in some form.
b). Anger must not be allowed to control us.
(Ephesians 4:26-27)
26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

B. ANIMOSITY (1 Samuel 18:28-30; 19:9-10) .

1 Samuel 18:28–30 NLT
28 When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and how much his daughter Michal loved him, 29 Saul became even more afraid of him, and he remained David’s enemy for the rest of his life. 30 Every time the commanders of the Philistines attacked, David was more successful against them than all the rest of Saul’s officers. So David’s name became very famous.
1 Samuel 19:9–10 NLT
9 But one day when Saul was sitting at home, with spear in hand, the tormenting spirit from the Lord suddenly came upon him again. As David played his harp, 10 Saul hurled his spear at David. But David dodged out of the way, and leaving the spear stuck in the wall, he fled and escaped into the night.
1. Saul’s devious plotting accomplished the opposite of what he intended.
a. Saul’s animosity and hatred of David continued to grow, until he again attempted to take David’s life.
2. Plotting to even the debt scale never accomplishes anything.
a. In the end animosity toward the offender will lead to destructive words and actions.
1). Our testimonies are destroyed.
2). Our other relationships will be irreparably damaged.
(Proverbs 29:22)
22 An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin.
b. We are instructed to avoid befriending angry people.
(Proverbs 22:24-25)
24 Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, 25 or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.


30 Saul boiled with rage at Jonathan. “You stupid son of a whore!”* he swore at him. “Do you think I don’t know that you want him to be king in your place, shaming yourself and your mother?
31 As long as that son of Jesse is alive, you’ll never be king. Now go and get him so I can kill him!”
32 “But why should he be put to death?” Jonathan asked his father. “What has he done?”
33 Then Saul hurled his spear at Jonathan, intending to kill him. So at last Jonathan realized that his father was really determined to kill David. [1]
1. Saul’s animosity toward David produced bitterness that overflowed even upon his own son.
a. He became angry at his own son because Johnathan stood in his way of exacting retribution upon David.
b. He tried to kill Johnathan.
2. Continuing to carry the torch of animosity results in bitterness taking root and growing.
a. Bitterness eventually overflows into every relationship and corrupts each one.
(Hebrews 12:15)
15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

D. RUIN (1 Samuel 28:19) .

19 What’s more, the Lord will hand you and the army of Israel over to the Philistines tomorrow, and you and your sons will be here with me. The Lord will bring down the entire army of Israel in defeat.”
1. Saul’s rebellion against God, his unforgiving spirit and pursuit of an innocent man had been allowed to rule his life.
a. He could no longer commune with God and get direction.
b. In desperation, Saul turned to the occult, which is forbidden by God.
c. God judged Saul for his sin and rebellion.
d. Saul’s reign, which began with some promise, ended in utter ruin.
(1 Chronicles 10:13-14)
13 So Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord. He failed to obey the Lord’s command, and he even consulted a medium 14 instead of asking the Lord for guidance. So the Lord killed him and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.
2. Allowing emotions to rule us and an unforgiving spirit consume us will result in ruin and destruction.
a. Allowing unforgiveness and bitterness toward someone else will result in ruin and destruction in your life and the lives of others.
A- Harboring an unforgiving spirit is destructive :
1- It results in a process that is destructive to us in every way.
· Internal
· External
B- The only way to stop this process and its destruction is to make a conscious choice to forgive.
1- Will you make the choice to pursue the process and pathway of forgiveness- the pathway to freedom?
a. Make the decision to invest the time to learn about biblical forgiveness.
b. Make the conscious choice to open yourself to the searchlight of God’s word. (Be ready to ask yourself some hard questions and be painfully honest with yourself about the answers.)
c. Move in obedience to God’s word by personally carrying out the necessary steps to follow the biblical teachings on forgiveness.
d. Allow the effects of the freedom found through forgiveness to bless you and others.
* 20:30 Hebrew You son of a perverse and rebellious woman.
[1] Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2015), 1 Sa 20:30–33.
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