We have just started a new series on discovering exciting research findings from Teleios! Our first evidence, presented over the last several weeks, was that peer-reviewed and Teleios sponsored scientific studies support improved wellbeing with Christianity in both healthy individuals and those suffering with disease! A list of benefits is found on our home page of our website (http://teleiosresearch.com/).
Today let us continue this exciting journey of the benefits of scripture by exploring four specific markers for wellbeing in the medical literature that also are noted in scripture: forgiveness, gratitude, hope and empathy.1
This journey is important because God has given us His wisdom to life and salvation through the scriptures for which we can depend. Consequently, we have a bright light in our lives for which we can have confidence over and above what is offered from society which scoffs at us. We are right in what we believe.
Importantly, the articles in the medical literature describing these four characteristics of wellbeing do not necessarily mention religion, even while recognizing their importance to health. But this is vital information for believers because these characteristics are actually based in scripture, as part of the benefit of our Christian walk and spiritual fruit from the Spirit. Therefore, the basis of these four characteristics originate is scripture and the medical literature recognizes their importance. In contrast, these concepts are not generally emphasized in Greek, humanistic or atheistic traditions.
Accordingly, we reviewed the effect of forgiveness, gratitude, hope and empathy in the medical literature and they improve an individual’s wellbeing. These helpful effects:
· Were found from pre-adolescent years to older adults.
· Demonstrated as a positive influence among important societal issues including: social relationships, delinquent behavior and physical health.
Although our review focused on the effect of forgiveness, gratitude, hope and empathy on the individual themselves and not the effect on a recipient, we might speculate that any increase in wellbeing among the evaluated individuals allowed also for a greater sense of personal benefit to others.
The source of the four parameters (forgiveness, gratitude, hope and empathy) also were evaluated. The results surprised us because only two primary sources were found in the analyzed articles: training and religious faith.
· Training – We found 3 of the 4 parameters could be taught, at least to some degree, through secular based training. Hope has not been evaluated in a such a manner to our knowledge.
· Religious faith – A person’s individual faith or their involvement in a community of believers, appeared positively associated with these 4 measures. How the measure was derived was not always clear. Perhaps the parameters could have developed from:
o The knowledge obtained from the scriptures
o Through self-learning
o Through interactions with church members
o The Holy Spirit building into us God’s character as we mature through His power based on the Bible
The religion was not typically specified in these reports; however, almost all the studies were performed in predominantly Christian countries. Therefore, we assume that most of the participants were either nominally or seriously practicing Christians.
Our review of the medical literature suggests that forgiveness, gratitude, hope and empathy may improve general wellbeing, pro-social and positive relational behavior and demonstrate positive health effects. These measures are biblical principles that are built into us when we live a faithful Christian life.
Please join me again next week as we continue to review scientific data that supports our faith and helping us to have confidence in the truth of the Bible.
1. Stewart WC, Reynolds KE, Jones LJ, Stewart JA, Nelson LA. The source and impact of specific parameters that enhance well-being in daily life. J Rel Health 2016;55:1326-1335.
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