They brought to him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” (Matthew 9:1-2). Jesus forgave before He healed. It’s interesting the correlation between forgiveness and physical healing. Studies for the past three decades are concluding that forgiveness, love and compassion are all intricately connected to physical and emotional healing.
We have known for the past three decades that giving and receiving forgiveness can bring physical healing. Science and research show:
- When we hold resentment, grievance, shame, guilt or pain from the past, our entire body-mind suffers. Our body produces excessive amounts of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which over time can compromise our immune system and potentially contribute to cardiovascular disease.
- Hostility, anger and unforgiveness is an inflammatory emotion and the number one emotional risk factor for premature death from heart attacks and strokes.
- Anger and being unable to forgive, is linked to autoimmune disorders. It’s not a coincidence that we speak of people “dying from a broken heart,” or describe a betrayal as a “stab in the back.”
Jesus knows that the key to this man’s healing is for him to experience healing in his heart. Jesus knows that this man must know that he is beloved, precious and forgiven. It’s the first time in the New Testament that Jesus addresses a man as “Son.” This is what everyone needs. We all need to know we are beloved and forgiven.
Billy Graham once said, “If people in our hospitals could only know they are forgiven, most would get up and walk out healed.” Jesus would agree. Science would agree.
Forgiven and healed,
Steve Holt M.A., D.D.