Sure Help from God’s Word
A PERSON needs strong motivation to resist yielding to damaging emotions. The Bible does provide such motivation, aiding the individual to deal successfully with feelings of guilt, jealousy, anxieties over making a living and a host of other emotional factors that could be injurious to health.
DEALING WITH GUILT FEELINGS
Often, feelings of guilt cause or aggravate certain ailments. A person may have become involved in conduct that troubles his conscience. His experience may be like that of David, an Israelite king who lived about 3,000 years ago. Describing the effect of his guilt feelings, David wrote: “My bones wore out through my groaning all day long. . . . My life’s moisture has been changed as in the dry heat of summer.” (Ps. 32:3, 4) These words suggest that David’s efforts to suppress the naggings of a guilty conscience made him weary. Like a tree deprived of needed moisture during a drought or a very hot, dry summer, David was sapped of his strength or vitality. How did he gain relief?
He made complete confession of his sins to God and, in faith, accepted divine forgiveness. That is why David could write: “Happy is the one whose revolt is pardoned, whose sin is covered. Happy is the man to whose account Jehovah does not put error.”—Ps. 32:1, 2.
The Bible reveals that anyone who turns to God in sincere repentance, on the basis of the sin-atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, can be forgiven his sins. The Christian apostle John wrote: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous so as to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. . . . [Jesus Christ] is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s.”—1 John 1:9; 2:2.
Of course, if a person does not believe that God has forgiven his sins, he will continue to experience the hurtful effects of a troubled conscience. Hence, it is vital that the individual strengthen his faith in God’s willingness to forgive sins. This he can do by reviewing what the Bible says about divine forgiveness and the persons whose transgressions were pardoned.
For instance, the Israelites were told: “Though the sins of you people should prove to be as scarlet, they will be made white just like snow; though they should be red like crimson cloth, they will become even like wool.” (Isa. 1:18) Since the Most High was willing to forgive the sordid acts of unfaithful Israelites, we can rest assured that he will grant similar pardon to sincerely repentant ones today. The Bible tells us: “I am Jehovah; I have not changed.”—Mal. 3:6.
Consider another example. King Manasseh “did on a large scale what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, to offend him. And there was also innocent blood that Manasseh shed in very great quantity, until he had filled Jerusalem from end to end.” (2 Ki. 21:6, 16) Later, he was taken captive to Babylon. This bitter experience brought Manasseh to the point of humbling himself before God. The Most High granted forgiveness to the repentant king and “restored him to Jerusalem to his kingship.” (2 Chron. 33:11-13) Few persons have made as bad a record of sin as did Manasseh. Yet, because he was repentant, he was forgiven. What encouragement this can give to individuals who are plagued with feelings of guilt!
Another case in point is that of the man who became the Christian apostle Paul. Before his conversion, he was “a blasphemer and a persecutor and an insolent man.” (1 Tim. 1:13) “Nevertheless,” Paul wrote, “the reason why I was shown mercy was that by means of me as the foremost case Christ Jesus might demonstrate all his long-suffering for a sample of those who are going to rest their faith on him for everlasting life.” (1 Tim. 1:16) How faith-strengthening it is to contemplate what God, through Christ, did in connection with Paul! Though he had viciously persecuted Christ’s followers, had acted in an arrogant manner against them and had blasphemed God unknowingly, Paul was forgiven when he repented. Thereafter he was used marvelously in aiding others to become Christians and in strengthening fellow believers. Moreover, he had the inestimable privilege of writing more of the inspired Christian Scriptures than any other man.
Individuals may at times feel condemned at heart, fearing that their sins are just too bad to be pardoned. Nevertheless, what the Bible states provides a firm basis for faith in God as the Forgiver of sins. This is forcefully expressed in the following statement of the apostle John: “We shall assure our hearts before him as regards whatever our hearts may condemn us in, because God is greater than our hearts and knows all things.” (1 John 3:19, 20) What fine relief from guilt feelings can confidence in these inspired words mean for us!
Besides feelings of guilt, bitter jealousy toward others may cause or aggravate a physical affliction. Jealousy may prevent a person from sleeping, may cause certain muscles to be tense and painful, and may lead to digestive troubles or other health problems. As the Bible can help a person to be freed from destructive guilt feelings, it can also aid him to overcome jealousy or deep resentment. First, though, the individual must recognize that he does have a problem with harboring feelings of resentment.
According to the Bible, the quality of love is needed in order to triumph over jealousy. The Scriptures tell us that “love is not jealous.” (1 Cor. 13:4) To overcome resentment, we need to accept and act in harmony with this Bible truth. We may find it helpful to put forth the effort to become better acquainted with those whom we may resent, striving to see their good qualities. Clearly, no individual can do everything, and all persons have faults. Hence, we wisely exercise care not to overrate our own abilities, appreciating that much can be done when, instead of just one person, many qualified people can give of their abilities and knowledge in doing worthwhile work.
The Bible makes it clear that we depend on others. Using the human body as an illustration of what should be true of the Christian congregation, the apostle Paul wrote: “For the body, indeed, is not one member, but many. If the foot should say: ‘Because I am not a hand, I am no part of the body,’ it is not for this reason no part of the body. And if the ear should say: ‘Because I am not an eye, I am no part of the body,’ it is not for this reason no part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If it were all hearing, where would the smelling be? But now God has set the members in the body, each one of them, just as he pleased.” (1 Cor. 12:14-18) In harmony with these words, we do well to think about what we can do to build up others instead of looking with envy upon their abilities, standing or accomplishments.
Individually, we have nothing over which to boast. We did not give ourselves the capacity for developing certain talents or abilities. The Scriptures set matters in a proper perspective, saying: “For who makes you to differ from another? Indeed, what do you have that you did not receive? If, now, you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as though you did not receive it?” (1 Cor. 4:7) Furthermore, what really counts is not our abilities but the kind of persons we are. Of what value are exceptional talents if the possessor of them is rude, selfish and hateful? So, rather than giving in to feelings of jealousy, we do well to follow the Bible’s encouragement to pursue the way of love, proving ourselves to be persons who willingly and eagerly respond to the needs of fellowmen. (1 Cor. 14:1) It would surely be unwise to harbor jealousy, thereby jeopardizing our physical well-being and failing to be the kind of persons who could be a source of uplift and encouragement to others.
AVOIDING UPSETS OVER INJUSTICES
It is not easy to endure being made the victim of injustice or to be powerless when seeing fellow humans subjected to oppression or exploitation by corrupt men. This can cause damaging emotional upsets. Here, too, what the Bible says can be an aid in avoiding the inner upheavals that can be injurious to health.
The Scriptures make it plain that often there is little that we can do. So many things are defective in the world that man simply cannot straighten out everything. The Bible is very realistic in telling us: “That which is made crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is wanting cannot possibly be counted.” (Eccl. 1:15) A person’s getting upset over the injustices that may be committed by others does nothing to alter the situation or relieve the problem for anyone. Of course, if we can further the cause of justice in a positive way, this would certainly be proper. We would not want to close our eyes callously to needless human suffering.
However, in the case of situations that must simply be accepted and endured, we can take comfort in the Bible promise that Jehovah God will set all matters straight. Regarding a future day of reckoning, the Scriptures tell us that ‘God through Christ Jesus will judge the secret things of mankind.’ (Rom. 2:16) Because there is a day of judgment, no injustice that we may experience in this world can result in permanent harm. When we have faith that the Creator will set all things straight, we spare ourselves many serious emotional upsets.
WORRIES ABOUT MAKING A LIVING
For many people, worry over making a living is a tremendous burden. This burden can be so great that it leads to serious health problems. In this regard, what helpful counsel does the Bible offer? “Never be anxious and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or, ‘What are we to drink?’ or, ‘What are we to put on?’” said Jesus Christ. “For all these are the things the nations are eagerly pursuing. For your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you. So, never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties. Sufficient for each day is its own badness.”—Matt. 6:31-34.
Surely, no amount of anxiety or worry will make it easier for us to make a living. Each day, as the Bible says, has “its own badness,” its own problems. There are enough problems in one day without worrying about difficulties that might crop up the next day. Jehovah God will not let those loving him suffer needlessly or purposelessly, but he will respond to our requests for aid. If we continue to exercise faith in God as a Provider while doing our part in procuring the necessities of life through honest work, we will have what we need. Our experience will be like that of David, who wrote: “A young man I used to be, I have also grown old, and yet I have not seen anyone righteous left entirely, nor his offspring looking for bread.”—Ps. 37:25.
TURN TO THE BIBLE
Regardless of what kind of pressure or stress you may face, there is information in the Bible that can aid you. Therefore, examine the Scriptures, making their superb guidelines a working part of your fund of knowledge. Then, by applying Bible principles in your daily life, you can continue to enjoy a good conscience and can resist yielding to emotions that could injure your health. More importantly, you will be walking in the way that leads to an eternal future. “He that does the will of God remains forever.”—1 John 2:17.