Dr. Paul Brand once said, “I have discovered the Kingdom of God at the point of my scalpel. It is written in the tissues. The right thing is always the healthy thing.” When you think about it, Jesus was a psychiatrist of the first order. He never mentioned the term “psychiatrist” but he constantly pointed toward healthy mindedness.
The beatitudes, which someone has defined as “beautiful attitudes,” are great principles with real application to everyday life. They deal with our mental states. Jesus knew if our mental states were right, everything else would be right, also.
“Blessed are the pure in heart.” A certain boy examining a piece of wood he had selected for carving, said to himself, “I wonder if it’s like what it’s like on the outside all the way through.” Wholeness within was what Jesus stressed. Constantly having to pretend that we are like on the inside what we appear to be on the outside can literally eat us up.
Phillip Yancy, in his book What’s So Amazing About Grace? points out that Jesus more than anything else stressed forgiveness and reconciliation. Jesus knew that hatred and an unforgiving spirit destroys and destroys and destroys.
An American doctor has told about a certain woman who hated her son-in-law. When she visited in his home to see her daughter and grandchildren she became crippled with arthritis. When she returned home the arthritis disappeared. Obviously, all arthritic women don’t hate their sonsin law, but it is a medical fact that mental attitudes affect our physical health.
Blessed are the peacemakers. The practice of demonstrating goodwill is health producing. But troublemakers, who are continually stirring up strife, are sick and make others sick. It is true—more people are sick because they are unhappy than are unhappy because they are sick. Our physical health is determined in great measure by our mental attitude.
The bottom line for all of us is this: “A mental checkup is as important as a physical checkup.” Thousands of thoughts enter our minds during the day. Dwell on the positive ones; shut out those of fear and failure, despair and doubt.
Begin your day saying, “This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.” When you lie down at the end of day repeat, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
The poet was right when he wrote:
He who formed our frame,
Made man a perfect whole;
And made the body’s health
Depend upon the soul. Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.