The extent of my medical expertise does not stretch much further than putting a band-aid on a cut to keep the dirt out and to prevent it bleeding all over the place. That’s why I head off to see the doctor any time something more serious arises.
But when it comes to matters of the heart, soul and spirit, I lean on the Great Physician, and His advice can heal conditions of the body as well.
This world suffers daily from all kinds of physical conditions, many of which do not have a physical root cause. Often the root causes of the ills of modern society are deeply rooted in spiritual, emotional and psychological issues.
Heartburn is a classic condition of the 20th and 21st centuries that most people can readily recognise.
OK, so maybe it was the spicy meal you had last night, and like me, you are prepared to suffer for that because you like spicy food. But there are literally thousands of people who do not eat spicy food and still suffer from heartburn. There are people who suffer many other conditions, aches, pains, gut problems and more but for no apparent physical reason. Just think of the amount of money spent on antacids, anti-inflammatory medications, headache pills and the like, and you will see what I mean.
Are all of these conditions physically caused, or could there be something deeper at work going on here?
It is my firm belief, and backed up by medical professionals, that many of the physical ills that exist in the modern world are caused by non-physical root causes.
How many conditions do doctors indicate a psychosomatic issue to be the root cause? How many headaches and migraines are the results of external problems such as relationship issues, fighting with a spouse, anger, resentment or fear? And how many cases of stomach upset and heartburn, even stomach ulcers are the direct results of stress?
These root causes are not physical but emotional, psychological and spiritual, and doctors tell us that if or when we can overcome these root cause issues, the physical problems will be relieved.
Which leads me back to the title of this post: Can forgiveness overcome heartburn? The answer is…Yes!
When a physical ailment is caused by a spiritual, emotional or psychological root cause, the only way to deal with it is by using a non-physical means to overcome it. Antacids, paracetamol and anti-inflammatory medications will deal with the symptoms, but they will not take away the root cause.
Many of the root causes of such ailments come from relationship related issues. It is in the turmoil of our relationships with God, with other people and even within ourselves that we fall down and fail to get back up. When we don’t get back up, the problems can manifest as sicknesses in our bodies because we are weak.
But how do we get back up?
There are a number of ways this can be done. First, if it is due to something that we did leading to condemnation, shame and guilt, we need to repent. We need to ask forgiveness of the Lord and also the people we have wronged, if that is the case and if at all possible.
Secondly, if someone has wronged us, then we need to forgive them of the wrong they have done. Forgiveness frees us from their wrong.
Let me explain that last statement.
If we do not forgive someone who has wronged us, it may become a root of bitterness in us. While we harbour a grudge and refuse to forgive, that person has power over us and the memory of the wrong will eat away at us. And when we do not forgive, we cannot expect to have the grace of God in our lives. Look at what the Bible says about this.
“See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" spring up and cause trouble, and by it the many become defiled” (Hebrews chapter 12 verse 15)
This root of bitterness will defile not only you, but also anyone you come into contact with. Your ill feelings towards someone who wronged you will colour every conversation where that person’s name comes up and others will be defiled by your stinkin’ thinkin’.
As the root of bitterness takes hold in you, it can lead to all of the physical ailments mentioned above: heartburn, headaches, stress, and so on.
Forgiveness is the key to overcoming these spiritual, emotional and psychological issues. Forgiveness heals your heart, so forgive and receive the grace and forgiveness of God…and you can throw away the antacids!
John Lemmon since retiring from work, now spends his time teaching, preaching and writing about the word of God, online and offline, answering God's call on him to “Speak to my people.” John and his wife Colleen travel all over Australia and you will often find him playing guitar or ukulele outside their caravan somewhere in the Great Outback. You can connect with John on Twitter (@JohnBLemmon) or on his Christian Bible study blog (freegiftfromgod.com/blog).