Some years ago a friend and I were visiting with her grandmother. Granny’s conversation with us was peppered with resentment. Though I don’t remember today what it was that distressed her, I still have a strong impression of this woman, whose hands were gnarled with arthritis.
And I wondered if her hands would be better if she could forgive rather than recount her hurt.
Recently arthritis took the top spot in an extensive as the most prevalent illness in people aged 65 and older. More than 56% of the 250,000 participants gave it more than double the occurrence as the next most common ailment. I thought of my friend’s grandmother, and my old unanswered question resurfaced. Could there be a spiritual remedy to resolve the resentment, bitterness, and frustration that can accompany arthritis?
The answer is yes! I quickly discovered a host of books, articles, and personal testimonies of those healed of arthritis with forgiveness, prayer, or spiritual counseling.
A sample of my findings:
In “The truth about forgiveness” (2006) author Wendy Bussell shares, “My family physician told me, Wendy if you do not deal with your past and the resentments you have, you will be an arthritic cripple by the time you are forty-five.” A chaplain, she let her faith guide her to a larger relationship with God which resulted in finding forgiveness and being free of arthritis.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in “Strength to Love” (1963) wrote, “Medical science reveals that such physical ailments as arthritis, gastric ulcer, and asthma have on occasion been encouraged by bitter resentments. Psychosomatic medicine shows how deep resentment may result in physical deterioration.” He doesn’t leave his readers wondering what to do next, but in his writing quotes Jesus, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
King also shares a passage from Howard Thurman’s “Deep River” (1960), “But ever and again, we look toward the East and discover that there is another light which shines even in the darkness, and the spear of frustration is transformed into a shaft of light.”
An example of the ‘light that shines in darkness’ Thurman refers to is found in the Biblical passage, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” It gives us hope that we too can take a diagnosis of arthritis – a spear of frustration/resentment/bitterness – and transform it into a shaft of light.
Read more here.