Sickness is not always caused by what you eat or don’t eat, how much you exercise or don’t exercise or even how much or little rest you get. There is a spiritual component that most doctors never consider. The Bible teaches that every person has a body, soul and a spirit, and that our soul and spirit can affect our bodies. If we are spiritually sick, filled with sin, guilt and shame, it will shorten our lives, just like bacteria and viruses can shorten our lives.
Hells Angels 1965
An older lady who had been attending our church, called me up one day. She was new, and I did not know much about her, accept that she was a grandmother to some children that also attended our church. She called to asked me if God could forgive her for all the terrible things she had done in her life. Being a typical pastor, I said, “Of course God can forgive you”. Then she told me that she used to be a member of the Hell’s Angels and that she had been the debt collector for the bike gang. She said that she used a gun to collect, and you can guess the rest. That was a complete surprise to me, she looked so sweet and innocent. But, I stuck to my theology and told her again, “God can and will forgive you of any sin, if you will confess it and ask God to forgive you”. Providentially, the next Sunday I was preaching on the story of Jesus, where he tells a paralyzed man that his sins are forgiven. The Pharisees got mad and accused Jesus of blaspheme, because they said, “Only God can forgive sins”. Jesus response was:
“But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he (Jesus) said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” Mark 2:10-12
Jesus still has the authority to forgive sin and and prove it, by healing our bodies. That beautiful older woman came to church the Sunday following our conversation and told me that she had been having seizures every day for most of her life, but since we prayed for her to be forgiven, she had ceased to have seizures. She had not had one since we prayed. Unconfessed, and unforgiven sin, can cause sickness in our bodies.
Is all sickness a direct result of sin? The answer is a resounding NO! The disciples asked Jesus “Who sinned this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus” (John 9:2,3) Sin is not always the problem. Someone you love may be sick simply because they are unfortunate enough to live in the goiter belt (an area of the U.S. that has no iodine). That’s not a sin, it’s just an iodine deficiency. Sailors used to get scurvy because there wasn’t enough vitamin C in their diet. It is not sin that they didn’t have fresh fruit on the boat; it was a lack of understanding. People get anemic because they have a diet that lacks digestible iron. That is not a sin, it’s just unfortunate.
Not every sickness is a direct result of someone’s sin! BUT…
The reason Jesus’ disciples asked the question was because the Bible does teach that some disease is a direct result of Sin. In John 5:14 Jesus said…
“See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you”
(Psalm 38:3-7) “Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain there is no health in my body.
So what is the cure?
1 John 1:7-9…
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Let me outline the process found in this Bible verse:
- It is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from sin.
- We must confess our sins. (agree with God that what we did was wrong)
- Then by faith we receive God’s forgiveness.
In 1974 my uncle Ward Graham showed me this verse in the Bible (1 John 1:8-9). At this time of my life I had been immersed in the hippie movement but was giving Jesus a chance. Also, up to this point I had not had any success in conquering sin in my life. I remember times when I would determine not to sin anymore, only, in short order,to fail miserably. As Shary and I began to attend church, (about the time the above picture was taken), I decided that my foul language needed to stop. But much to my disappointment I would slip and something embarrassing would come from my lips. Among other things I found myself using the Lord’s name as a swear word in the most awkward situations.
If you are like myself and the Apostle Paul, you probably have thought or said something like this…
“I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it…..What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:18b-20, 24-25
My uncle advised me to apply 1 John 1:7-9. He called it spiritual breathing, so I tried it. Every time I would slip up, I would confess to the Lord, I would tell Jesus that I realized what I had said was displeasing to him and I would ask him to forgive me (that was the exhaling of spiritual breathing). Then by faith, I would thank him that he had forgiven me because Jesus had suffered and spilled his own blood to pay for that sin. I would also, by faith, thank him that he was washing the sin out of me, (That was the inhaling of spiritual breathing), it was actually quite refreshing. If I was alone, I would say it out-loud, if I was with other people, I would silently pray it.
The first benefit, was that I didn’t feel guilty all the time; that guilt had, at times, actually made me sick to my stomach. I now realize that it was also affecting my immune system. Instead of feeling guilt and shame, I felt free, light and forgiven. This went on for a number of weeks, and I was still cussing, but I didn’t feel the guilt and shame associated with it. Then, about a month later I realized that I hadn’t used any bad language for days. God had not only forgiven me but washed me as well; the freedom from uncontrolled cussing has lasted almost 40 years.
Over the years I have applied this passage of scripture to countless sin issues in my life with the same results. Some sins went quickly, others took years. Though my actions did not always immediately change, the deep down relief from guilt and shame always came instantly. I believe this is a big part of why I have not missed a days work, because of sickness, in almost 40 years.
Jesus is always the answer to sin and sickness, he is always the one we look to. Either he will tell us through his word what we need to do to live a sickness free life or he will forgive us and heal us when we fail. Jesus is our rescuer. It is not amazing that God can rescue us? What is amazing, is that he wants to, and he will rescue us from sin and sickness, God will forgive you, God cannot lie, His word says he will forgive you and cleanse you, so he will! His word is true and can be trusted. If you want to be washed clean and set free from the guilt, shame and sickness, if you want to be forgiven, you can pray this prayer right now.
Dear Father I realize that _________________ (name the sin) is wrong and displeases you, please forgive me. I confess it is sin! I thank you that you have forgiven me because Jesus suffered and spilled his own blood to pay for this sin. I also thank you that you are washing _________________ (name the sin) out of my life.
The principle that sin can open us up to disease is also found in the New Testament. James 5:14-16a makes the connection between confession of sin and healing…
“Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well: the Lord will raise him up, and if he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed..”
Modern science once again confirms what the Bible has been teaching for thousands of years. Guilt and shame affect our hormone levels which can totally mess up our immune systems.
A group of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) discovered that a cycle of shame and illness was measurable; “enrolling a group of graduate students into a study to examine how their opinions of themselves affect their immune systems. They asked 31 students to write about traumatic or emotional experiences for which they blamed themselves; 18 others were asked to write about experiences that didn’t evoke any guilt or shame. Results of the investigation were presented last week at a meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Monterey, Calif. The researchers, led by UCLA social psychology doctoral student Sally Dickerson, say that those participants who wrote about neutral experiences and those who felt guilt over their experience showed no measurable physical changes that might make them ill. However, the students who felt shame for the incidents they wrote about showed an increase in cytokine activity, as measured by blood tests. Cytokines are bodily road signs of inflammation, indicating that a disease process may be in progress.
“The people who felt the most shame had the highest elevation of cytokine activity,”1
In our church and ministry, we have literally seen thousands of people set free from sin, shame and sickness, by applying these simple truths. God told Noah that after the flood, man’s days were to be 120 years, but Psalms 90:8-10 says that our secret sins, if not confessed and repented of, will shorten our days, down to approximately 70-80 years. This is exactly the lifespan of the average American, 75.5 years. And that is about right, since the average American has a lot of guilt and shame that is making them sick.
Many people are suffering and don’t know why. They have spent all their money on doctors and only gotten worse. Many people I talk to cannot seem to do what is necessary to get well. They may know that cigarettes are bad, or sugar is bad, but cannot stop smoking or eating the thing that is killing them. Or they are told that vitamin C and calcium will cure their arthritis, but they are unable to consistently take the supplements that they need. I have even counseled with people who are workaholics, never taking a day off. I have convinced them that they would get more work done in six days than they do in seven, but they can’t seem stop and take a day off, even though they know it is killing them. Often this is due to unconfessed sin in their lives. Until they get forgiveness they are stuck, the apostle Paul says, “I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:18b and 24-25a
Jesus is the answer. If you find yourself stuck, try making a list of the things that cause you guilt or shame. Then apply 1 John 8-9 to each one separately. If you have already done this and you are still stuck, you may have to go to the next level, as stated in James chapter 5. You may need to find a trusted, godly friend and confess to them and have them help you say out loud that you believe God has forgiven you. James says that we are to confess “one to another”. Usually, confessing to God is enough, but sometimes we need help, and that is where godly friends can be the mouth and ears of Jesus to you.
Ask God daily, to…
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” 139:23,24 KJV
If not, set aside time each day when you can listen to God. Then apply 1 John 1:8-9
It is our hope the these weekly, practical applications to God’s word are as helpful to you, your family and your friends as they have been to ours. If you have questions or just can’t wrap your head around a particular idea we are sharing, don’t hesitate to contact us at… email@example.com we would love to talk to you.
If you believe God knows best, join us and the Wellness Gospel team and spread the word, share this with your friends on social media and may God bless you richly.
If you want to keep improving your health and like this kind of biblical, scientific information, then I would like to recommend three must-read books.
“None of These Diseases” by S. I. McMillen, M.D. and David E. Stern, M.D.
“Let’s Play Doctor” by Dr. Joel Wallach
“God’s Guide To Biblical Health and Healing” by Rev. Chris & Shary Schauermann
You can get all these books at Amazon,com