A Medical Doctor’s Perspective on Sin

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Psychosomatic Illness

Dr. Henry Brandt shares this story from his life about his medical doctor friend:

Dr. S.I. McMillen, a much-respected and loved physician, taught the college Sunday-school class at the church we attended. He gave a series of lectures on how certain thoughts and feelings can cause pain in many parts of the body.

Dr. McMillen used some visual aids and pamphlets authored by Dr. O. Spurgeon English of Temple Medical School and sponsored by Sandoz Pharmaceuticals to illustrate his lessons.

Up to this time, I had always assumed that pain meant something was wrong with the body and that a physician would know how to fix it. The proper choice of pills or an injection will hopefully do the job. It simply never occurred to me that thoughts and feelings could affect the body.

Dr. McMillen introduced me to a new term, “psychosomatic,” which has to do with a physical disorder caused by or noticeably influenced by the emotional state of the patient.

In our book, Breaking Free from the Bondage of Sin, Dr. Brandt goes on to share:

Dr. S.I. McMillen spent many years studying Jewish and Christian writings in search of biblical principles and directions for living. As a result of this research he wrote the bestseller book None of These Diseases, which describes the physical consequences of wrong living. He pointed out that there may be sin in the picture when aches and pains show up:

Peace does not come in capsules! This is regrettable because medical science recognizes that emotions such as fear, sorrow, envy, resentment and hatred are responsible for the majority of our sicknesses. Estimates vary from 60% to nearly 100%. Emotional stress can cause high blood pressure, toxic goiter, migraine headaches, arthritis, apoplexy, heart trouble, gastrointestinal ulcers, and other serious diseases too numerous to mention. As physicians we can prescribe medicine for the symptoms of these diseases, but we cannot do much for the underlying cause-emotional turmoil.

Effects of Hate

In his book, Dr. McMillen gives a masterful description of the effects of hate:

The moment I start hating a man, I become his slave. I can’t enjoy my work anymore because he even controls my thoughts. My resentments produce too many stress hormones in my body and I become fatigued after only a few hours of work. The work I formerly enjoyed is now drudgery. Even vacations cease to give me pleasure. I may be in a luxurious car that I drive along a lake fringed with the autumnal beauty of maple, oak, and birch. As far as my experience of pleasure is concerned, I might as well be driving a wagon in mud and rain.

The man I hate hounds me wherever I go. I can’t escape his tyrannical grasp on my mind. When the waiter serves me porterhouse steak with French fries, asparagus, crisp salad, and strawberry shortcake smothered with ice cream, it might as well be stale bread and water. My teeth chew the food and I swallow it, but the man I hate will not permit me to enjoy it….

The man I hate may be many miles from my bedroom; but more cruel than any slave driver, he whips my thoughts into such a frenzy that my innerspring mattress becomes a rack of torture. The lowliest of the serfs can sleep, but not I. I really must acknowledge the fact that I am a slave to every man on whom I pour the vials of my wrath.

When your body hurts, check your spirit. The pain may be a signal to pay attention to your thoughts and emotions. I once assumed that pain was always the physician’s territory But now I ask, “When resentment, anger, hatred, and rebellion are involved, are you not in the minister’s territory?”

Here is a Scripture to think about when you are dealing with negative thoughts and emotions:

Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

 Galatians 5:16