Today’s mattresses are so luxurious. But do you remember the old days when you would be sleeping in the same bed as somebody else and they would turn over, or even simply move, and you totally felt it and it disturbed your sleep? Now I don’t want to get into the science of mattress engineering, but they’ve come a long way! In the old mattresses all the springs inside were tied together in a cause-and-effect type system. Today mattress technology isolates individual areas so that it guards against chain reaction type experiences.
In the same way as the older mattresses are integrated in their design, God has created us as integrated beings. All the different systems of our body (i.e. respiratory, nervous, skeletal, cardiovascular) are inseparable. For example, when we eat poorly and don’t exercise, that’s a recipe for mental fatigue and depression. I have suffered from periodic digestive pains for decades. Years ago I discovered that one means of addressing digestive pains is to receive chiropractic adjustments.
What are the spiritual implications and applications of this mattress truth? When we enter the Kingdom of God (by salvation through Jesus), we are called to live according to the ways of the Kingdom. We can expect that when we live in submission to the Creator’s design, that we will experience life to the full (John 10:10). That is not reserved just for eternity, but it begins now! When we honour God by stewarding our body, minds, and souls, and live in an integrated fashion, we can expect joyful and fruitful lives.
One of the Kingdom principles is forgiveness. Jesus includes forgiveness as one of the areas to include in our prayer lives (see the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6). In Matthew 18 Jesus tells the parable of the unmerciful servant. You can take the time to read it for yourself now. The punchline is v.35-“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Jesus ties our being forgiven by our Heavenly Father to our extending forgiveness to others.
Forgiveness is extremely important. It’s been said that unforgiveness in our lives is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Unforgiveness, resentment, anger, and many other negative emotions will have physical manifestations in our lives. Whether it is as minor as a sore jaw from constant clenching of teeth, or as major as stomach ulcers or worse- chronic illness. Now this is not to say that all illness is caused by negative emotion and unforgiveness. But it is to say that I think we often underestimate the physical impact that our emotional and spiritual health has on our lives. Check out the following links as examples of how the medical community is realizing the truth and power of addressing emotional and spiritual health as a form of treatment for disease and illness.
How do we go about extending forgiveness to others who have deeply pained us? The recipe for forgiveness in the New Testament is this: “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Col. 3:13). We need to stop thinking of ourselves as the offended and our adversary as the offender, and instead shift perspective to realize that ultimately we are the offenders and God is the offended. When we realize the depth that we’ve been forgiven, we will be compelled to forgive those who have hurt us.
So, have you been suffering from pain or illness for a long time? Do you have issues of unresolved forgiveness? Make sure that you aren’t unduly suffering and consider the integrated truth of cause and effect.