Could You Be Your Own Enemy?
“A calm heart is the life of the fleshly organism, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.”—Prov. 14:30.
A WOMAN began experiencing serious hearing problems. Her personal physician was unable to find anything that pointed to an organic cause. Why was she going deaf? Because of frequent loud arguments with her daughter, she simply had begun to tune out sounds. In this way, she apparently sought to defend herself against an unpleasant situation. Once she recognized the problem, her hearing returned to normal.
A 29-year-old man began feeling pain around his heart. For a period of 10 years the discomfort persisted and intensified. This occurred despite considerable medical care and extensive periods of rest. The health problem interfered with his work and deprived him of happiness.
Did he actually have heart trouble? No. At the age of 21, he had contracted a serious illness from which he had recovered completely. However, based on personal reading and the comments of others, he had become convinced that the illness had brought on a heart condition. As a result, although he had no organic disease, he suffered from the symptoms just described. Later, when he received professional help that came to grips with his emotional problem, the man’s pain disappeared and he began leading a productive life.
As a member of a family in which back problems were common, a young woman began experiencing backaches. She became deeply troubled about this but was afraid to go to a doctor, expecting the worst. The more she worried, the greater the pain became. Finally, she went to a physician, only to be told that he could not find any reason for the problem. What was wrong? The initial backache started when this woman received heavier responsibility in connection with her job. She became concerned about possible failure. Then the worry over the pain worsened the backache. After coming to realize the source of the difficulty, this woman stopped being anxious about it, and the pain ceased.
These are but a few of many examples illustrating that emotional factors can have a strong bearing on an individual’s physical well-being. Without even realizing it, a person may be his own enemy. According to the Encyclopedia Americana (1977 edition, Vol. 22, p. 732), “an estimated 50% of all medical patients have illnesses that can be classified as wholly or partly psychosomatic,” that is, “precipitated or sustained by emotional factors.” The heart seems to be especially susceptible to emotional stress.
Not until the 20th century have physicians come to accept the view that emotional problems may be at the root of many ailments. However, the Maker of man, Jehovah God, revealed this in his Word, the Bible. For example, therein we read: “A calm heart is the life of the fleshly organism, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.” (Prov. 14:30) While a calm spirit has a wholesome effect on the heart, the harboring of jealousy toward others can be destructive to a person’s physical frame.
Since certain emotional factors can be injurious, we need to keep them in check. Acting in harmony with the Scriptures can help us. But how?