10/20/16 at 10:45 AM 0 Comments

Chronic Physical Pain and Sin - What the Bible Says

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Sin, pain and health. There is a connection, often. The Bible makes this very clear.

Please understand, I'm not saying that health issues are always the result of sin. But unconfessed sin can sometimes directly lead to health issues - mental and physical.

This past week I delivered a workshop for Faith Community Nurses from the state of Georgia. My topic was Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine. What's the Christ Follower to Do? During my research, I learned that, according to the National Institute of Health(NIH), the number one reason why people turn to alternative modalities and therapies, other than traditional medicine, is because they are in physical pain. They are seeking relief from chronic pain - back pain, neck pain and joint pain.

  • More than half of American adults (125 million) had a musculoskeletal pain disorder in 2012.

Sometimes the pain is rooted in a skeletal or biological issue or muscular imbalance. Often this comes about as a result of an accident or injury.

But sometimes the pain can be caused because a person is in internal conflict with God and/or with them self because they have sinned or are living in intentional sin. This internal conflict can cause tension in the muscles and other body tissues. This soft tissue tension can sometimes compress the tissue or bone against nearby nerves and can result in pain. Sometimes chronic pain. Sure, a massage or an acupuncture treatment, an anti-inflammatory pill or physical therapy can provide short term relief. But, if the pain is rooted in the inner conflict or guilt that stems from sin, the treatment or pill may well not cure the pain.

What the Bible Says About Pain, Health and Sin

The Bible addresses pain health and sin head on. Let's look at a few key verses:

1 O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your rage!
2 Your arrows have struck deep,
and your blows are crushing me.
3 Because of your anger, my whole body is sick;
my health is broken because of my sins.
4 My guilt overwhelms me—
it is a burden too heavy to bear.
5 My wounds fester and stink
because of my foolish sins.
6 I am bent over and racked with pain.
All day long I walk around filled with grief.
7 A raging fever burns within me,
and my health is broken.
8 I am exhausted and completely crushed.
My groans come from an anguished heart.

9 You know what I long for, Lord;
you hear my every sigh.
10 My heart beats wildly, my strength fails,
and I am going blind.
11 My loved ones and friends stay away, fearing my disease.
Even my own family stands at a distance......

17 I am on the verge of collapse,
facing constant pain.

David in Psalm 38:1-17

The above is from the New Living Translation of the Bible. Clearly David felt guilty from his sin. He was in mental anguish. He likely could have experienced arrhythmia in his heart. He experienced searing pain. In the New International Version, verse 7 reads - "My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body."

Do you see the connection between his sin and the pain and poor health that David experienced?

Let's look at another scripture where in Psalm 32 David writes the following.:

1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.

3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me, my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Internally, David felt guilty because he knew that he had committed a sin or sins. This internal conflict - his guilt and negative emotions - undoubtedly caused harmful chemicals and hormones to be released within his body resulting in inflammation, sickness and pain. God permitted this. God designed us in such a way that our sinful behaviors (our will/choice to engage in sin) and our mind, emotions and body are all intrcately connected. Nothing happens in isolation!

For more insight into biblical principles and examples related to sin and health read the following verses:

  • Psalm 106
  • Psalm 107:17-20
  • 1 Corinthians 11:30

Sin, Pain and Health - The Spiritual Prescription

The spiritual prescription or solution to pain and health conditions that are rooted in sin is confession to God and turning from the sin. The healing occurs through God's forgiveness and in recognizing His forgiveness. David writes in Psalm 32:

1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.....

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32: 1,2,5 (NIV)

As we receive God's forgiveness from sin, we can release our guilt feelings. The tension can then fall away. The body stops releasing harmful substances. It returns to balance. We can again experience God's peace. This all promotes good health and a lack of physical pain.

So you see, there is a connection between sin, pain and health.

If you've been experiencing non stop or chronic pain or a health condition that your health care provider has not been able to cure, I encourage you to prayerfully ask God to help you examine your heart and your behaviors. (Psalm 139:23-24) Ask Him if you are holding on to any resentment towards someone. Ask Him to show you if there is any recurring or unconfessed sin in your life. If He shows you anything, be obedient to confess and follow through with what He shows you to do.

Be encouraged! God loves you so much that He sometimes brings physical pain or sickness into your life so that you'll turn from sin and grow closer to Himself!

P.S. There was a time that I experience chronic low back pain for a period of months. God has helped me appreciate that this pain was directly due to intentional sin in my life. See the link below to the blog post where I wrote about this.

Resources Related to Sin, Pain and Health

A Blog Post About My Intentional Sin and Pain - Sin and Pain - Psalm 38:7

Blog Posts About Sin

Blog Posts Related to Pain

Blog Posts Related to Guilt

Blog Posts Related to Confession

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