Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 26, 2019
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
I have a friend who works in home health assisting the elderly. One day as we chatted on the phone, she said something that struck me: “So many of the people I work with are mentally ill and are filled with bitterness. It makes me wonder if there is a connection between their mental illness and their heart condition.”
Of course, it would be wrong to say that every person who experiences mental illness is ill because they have sin in their heart. But her comment got me thinking—and it reminded me of the story in John 5:1-18 of the lame man whom Jesus healed.
If you have heard the story, you remember that after Christ healed him, he said, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you” (John 5:14).
Many theologians believe Jesus knew there was a connection between the man’s physical condition and a particular sin. So, the Lord was lovingly cautioning him to follow God’s good path so he wouldn’t continue to suffer. Not because Christ is harsh and mean, but because suffering is often a natural result of sin.
It struck me how Christ was saying to him, “You have a responsibility to maintain your own healing.” And, it got me thinking about how each of us have a responsibility for our own emotional health, too. Perhaps, just as my friend who works with the elderly suggested.
For example, if a friend betrays you, you have two choices: you can hold onto bitterness, or you can choose forgiveness. The first choice leads to emotional damage and the second leads to emotional healing.
Perhaps you have had many disappointments because God hasn’t said yes to your most important prayers. You have two choices: You can hold onto disappointment and shake your fist at heaven. Or, you can surrender to God and choose to believe He loves you in spite of the gifts you haven’t received. The first choice will lead to devastation of heart and emotional damage. The second choice will lead to emotional wholeness and healing.
Perhaps you’re having trouble at work because of a particular coworker. You want to return evil for evil and dish back what you’ve received. You can do that, or you can tell the devil that you aren’t going to allow bitterness into your heart and play his ungodly game. If you choose to hold onto bitterness, you’ll experience emotional damage. If you choose to handle your trouble God’s way, you’ll experience emotional healing.
Granted, I’m not saying believers should be doormats. There are times when we need to stand up for righteousness, but we can do so without holding onto hatred, bitterness, and unforgiveness.
Certainly, the Lord could give us an immediate transformation in our emotions. But that’s not how He usually works. Instead, He calls us to play a vital role in our own emotional health. We have a responsibility for our own emotional healing. Responding God’s way will always result in health; responding Satan’s way will result in emotional damage. Which will you choose?
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all (Psalm 34:19).
Lord, help me to follow your commands in my life so that I am healthy emotionally and can be a light for you. Amen.
Take a moment and ask the Lord to reveal any ungodly attitudes or emotions that you are holding on to. Confess them as sin, ask for forgiveness, and ask the Lord how you need to respond going forward.
Confession, comfort and forgiveness contribute to our emotional well-being. #WisdomHunters #emotionalhealing
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