THE SIN/SICKNESS CONNECTION
The Bible shows that there can often be a cause-and-effect relationship between sin and sickness.
Psalms 107:17-20 (CW) Our forefathers became sick through their sinful ways and suffered unduly [unnecessarily – in a way that is avoidable] because of their continual wicknedness. They were so close to death that the sight of food nauseated them. Then they called on the Lord, and He saved them out of their distress. He spoke and they were healed. He delivered them from the pit [brink] of death.
Very often the devil will use sin to work sickness into your life. Some sin is very apparent:
- Smoking. In the United States, cigarette smoking is linked to about 80% to 90% of lung cancer deaths.
Ecclesiastes 7:17 (CW) Don’t be a fool and live a life of sin . . . and die before your time.
Smoking is responsible for approximately 435,000 deaths per year in the United States. It is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States (18.1%).*
- Gluttony. Poor diet and physical inactivity are responsible for approximately 365,000 deaths per year in the United States. It is the second leading preventable cause of death in the United States (15.2%).*
- Alcoholism. An estimated 85,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in America (3.5%).*
* Actual causes of death in the United States, 2000. – NCBI
Together that is 36.8% of deaths. 885,000 deaths a year.
These sins are very visible in their cause-and-effect. How about sin that is not as visible?
Proverbs 4:23 (CJB) Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences.
“Whether it’s a simple spat with your spouse or long-held resentment toward a family member or friend, unresolved conflict can go deeper than you may realize—it may be affecting your physical health. The good news: Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress . . . . Forgiveness calms stress levels, leading to improved health.”
– Johns Hopkins Hospital, “Forgiveness: Your Heath Depends on It.”
“People with greater exposure to stress over their lifetimes had worse mental and physical health. But the researchers also discovered that if people were highly forgiving of both themselves and others, that characteristic alone virtually eliminated the connection between stress and mental illness. It’s almost entirely erased—it’s statistically zero.”
– The Journal of Health Psychology
“Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.”
-WebMD, The Effects of Stress on Your Body
James 5:14-16 (NIV) Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Philippians 3:15 (NKJV) Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.
Hebrews 4:16 (NIV) Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
The Bible does NOT claim that sin always leads to sickness or that every sickness is the result of personal sin. But forgiveness is an important start in everyone’s healing journey.