The Stress-Illness Connection

Calvin Malefyt

READ : Hebrews 12:14-24

It is hard to forgive someone who has hurt us. It may be an abusive relationship, or a cutting remark. Humor can be like caustic soda when we are the object of a joke. Internalized anger must be faced and let go. Otherwise it becomes a “root of bitterness,” which can poison the lives of many others and create personal health problems. We need the help of the Lord to dig out these weeds of bitter discontent. The sun must not go down on our wrath, that is, we must keep short accounts with our feelings.

Dr. Redford Williams, Duke psychiatrist, has shown that hostile people have a sevenfold higher rate of death than others. They suffer more depression, have more heart attacks and higher blood pressure, and live with digestive problems. His advice: “Be kind. Anger hardens the arteries of life.”

A lady in my church was seriously ill. She had been raised in an abusive home, and married an abusive husband. She had pushed down much fear and anger. Now it was erupting in illness. At her request we anointed her with oil and prayed that she might be healed of all bitterness. Then she could forgive those who had abused her. I believe the Lord heard our prayers. Shortly thereafter she died peacefully and triumphantly.


Thank You, Father, for Your steadfast love in our weakness, and Your provision cleansing us from all hidden sins. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.