My Journey to Significance

This is an excerpt of my journey. I recently had the privilege to share this with my ALPHA 4 group of friends who I have come to adore and admire.

“Jesus, I want you to know what is in my heart. I thank you for coming into my life. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sin so that I could be fully accepted by you. Only you can give me the power to change and become the person you created me to be. Thank you for forgiving me and giving me eternal life with God. I give my life to you. Please do with it as you wish. Amen.”

I think often just how blessed you are to have grown up knowing God. Remember week 6 of ALPHA – How does God Guide us? The section on “Circumstantial Signs of God’s Guiding Hand” triggered an avalanche of memories. How true written 2000 years ago John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day”. I feel really blessed I did not have to wait to that “last day” to receive my call. I now understand Jesus didn’t live on earth just to prove He is God. He came to give us eternal life, to offer us forgiveness and freedom from sin and guilt, to give us a full and meaningful life. It’s because Jesus is God that He can provide forgiveness from sin and enable us to live abundantly.

In 1st and 2nd year at University I was an Ayn Rand fanatic; that you were solely in control of your destiny and I always thought I had my life under control. So it came as a surprise as Proverbs 16:9 reminds: “In your heart you may plan your course, but the Lord determines your steps”.

As a 7-year-old having recently arrived in Rhodesia I had a feeling I was to be a Doctor. In retrospect the course of events to follow was unknowingly not scripted by me.  I grew up never thinking about God and at university I was atheistic. I was an introverted kid spending my junior and high school years pretty much on a squash court practising daily for hours. I excelled at this sport and received the highest sporting honour to be awarded at High School as the youngest recipient at 16. I was on TV, in the press and gave exhibitions. My academics were very mediocre though in the second stream; just scraping though A-levels with 3 science subjects. Certainly NOT of doctor standard.

After A-level I was conscripted like all boys at the time unknowingly facing the first of many cross-roads of my life. The first arose when a group of mates from school decided at conscription “sign up” to join a new officer training programme rather than the usual infantry training. In retrospect God’s circumstantial signs were active. Completely out of character as I was not a natural leader and quite immature, yet paradoxically, I excelled on this extreme programme to emerge with the “sword of honour”.

In retrospect God’s “sense of humour” was demonstrated when the time came to assign us to our positions in the real world with the military, bearing in mind the Rhodesian war was at fever pitch. I was posted to command as a lieutenant to a mortar platoon in the biggest permanent (African) battalion in Rhodesia.  It was unheard of at the time that a territorial force officer would be posted to a permanent force battalion. Ironically out of 40 battle hardened soldiers in this platoon I was the youngest at 18 with my senior non-commissioned officers old enough to be my Father (some of them had fought in the Kenyan African Rifles in Burma and Malaya). Suffice to say I was absolutely terrified at the prospect of leading, living, eating, and ultimately killing with these fine soldiers over the next 9 months. What transpired was unexpected and in retrospect I’m sure guided by God’s Grace. I was good at my new job and was quickly respected by my platoon and company and thus had this crazy new idea of a career as a professional officer with the battalion. On two occasions I walked into ambushes and should have been killed if not for my “batman” & bodyguard on the first occasion.

The second event happened on my 19th birthday 4/11/1976 where we were ambushed and the most ferocious fire-fight ensued over many hours. Interestingly it was my platoon’s mortar fire that saved our entire force. To this day I remember clearly as if yesterday; lying behind a massive tree in the bush with gun fire all around me and 30 of my men injured. Time stopped and I started thinking about my future (although nothing to do with God as I had absolutely no knowledge of His existence). What happened next can only in retrospect be seen as miraculous. A soldier arrived on the right side of the same tree whist I lay on the left side. He had an anti-tank rifle grenade attached to his FN rifle and asked me “Sir should I fire it”. Suggesting he should, he promptly cocked the weapon, ejected the gas propellant cartridge out of the breach and unknowingly loaded a live round into the chamber from his attached ball round magazine. On pulling the trigger his rifle barrel exploded with the live round detonating the anti-tank rifle grenade on the end of his rifle about one meter from my head. A soldier 200m behind us was hit by a piece of tail fin between the eyes. Once the dust settled at the base of our tree I was the same colour as my colleague on the other side who was still as much alive as I was. Remarkably we were both unscathed except deaf from perforated ear drums. Gun fire sounded like popping popcorn and the next 3 hours of fire fight trying to communicate with my injured platoon was quite taxing. I should not really have survived my 19th Birthday. With my hearing injury I was transferred to 2nd in command of Headquarter Company of the Battalion but my “fate” had been sealed. The second cross-road arrived for very comfy as a Captain I was “instructed” to send off my application to university for B Sc (I found out I could not apply for a Medical School in SA from Rhodesia).

The next few years saw me playing top class sport & paving my way into an academic world of science again unknowingly with God’s Grace as I made the transition to medicine from 2nd year B Sc grabbing one of 5 places out of 500 applications with 5 firsts and 2+. This was totally out character as a member of OVOVAC (“Our Very Own Very Average Club”). Thus fulfilling that “calling” I had 14 years earlier.

An Angel was brought into my life at the end of my Housemanship year.  Glenda has been my saviour ever since, especially through my extremely difficult registrar training years at GSH.  We have been married happily since (23 years) with two wonderful children (21 and 18 respectively).

At 50+ successful, prosperous, physically fit, for some unknown reason and out-of-the-blue I starting asking questions. My predicament was simple. I had no belief system, no faith, and despite my collection of “so-called” accolades I could not answer “what is the significance of my life?” The eventual “trigger” came when I had the great privilege of caring for my dying 61 yr Brother-in-law in 2008 and spent considerable time at his bedside in his home. Despite my expertise I was not equipped to deal with his death as I was spiritually lost and empty with no certainty to my own existence and no belief in eternal life. I could not answer his dying questions.

After his death I re looked at my life. I felt I had taken for granted the special things around me including my Wife and Children, my job, my health, our friends and the magnificent environment in which we live. I had typically fallen into the secular trappings of worshipping idols like myself, materials, fame and fortune. I had no knowledge of God, had never spent time thinking about God and certainly had no decisive evidence as to whether God existed or not. I was left arguing that if God did exist and one did gain eternal life and infinite happiness through knowing God, then I was in a perilous state, as my life was potentially without ultimate significance value or purpose.

In the same year I was further punished by evil. Having crossed swords with an unscrupulous property developer as well as a fraudulent investor I was exposed to real evil for the first time in my life and suddenly discovered there was no restraint from the depths of evil in man. Anger consumed me, catapulting me and my family into a frenzy of hatred and retribution for which I was certainly not proud. So at 50 I was really looking “down the barrel of a rifle” for if there was no God, then I was doomed. If there was no God essentially I had no immortality and the consequence of this was that life is itself was absurd, meaningless and without ultimate significance. I felt pretty “dead” as one writer aptly put it, “If God is dead, then Man is dead too.”

Our meeting at ALPHA was not by chance for which I deeply thank God. ALPHA stimulated great reflection on the burning questions of my life and I gave great thought as to my purpose in God’s world. Possibly most importantly ALPHA ignited an intense passion to read and understand God’s inspired Word. I found reading and studying the New and Old Testament for the VERY first time an incredible journey. I have become deeply passionate with Jesus Christ in my reading and biblical study. I now understand that adversity is way more important than prosperity as it is under adversity that I have learnt important lessons. I make time to be with God through prayer, reflection, during exercise, and daily readings. I ask myself daily questions that help me focus on the spiritual instead of the material parts of my life:

  • How can I slow down
  • How can I simplify things
  • How can I bring silence and peace into my life
  • How can I speak up (tell truth)
  • How can I shed my mask and armour
  • How can I serve God; my family and community

Inspired by God, the biblical writings are remarkably relevant to my life and the realisation that “absolute truth” does exist and that the answers to ALL my life’s questions are readily available. It seems my journey with God has always been there but I was too stupid and too preoccupied to realise this. I now understand that Jesus intended the Christian life to be an exciting, abundant adventure. He promised, “I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). When you walk in a close relationship with our Lord, and in the control of God’s Holy Spirit, every day is filled with wonder, meaning, and purpose — your life overflows with desirable qualities: My scepticism about my existence has gone and some of my intellectual struggles have been pacified & I feel I am better qualified to answer some of the deep penetrating question asked of life; death and eternity. I have learnt to treasure my wife, my children and those around me & to treasure their critique in that I have a lot to learn. I am hoping and praying God directs me to where He sees my role in His Kingdom. I ask God for guidance on how I should prepare myself for the rest of my life. I have become more convinced than ever that God finds ways to communicate to those who truly seek God.

I recall a funny story of a traveller who interrupted his busy life to spend a few days in a monastery. “I hope your stay will be a blessed one the Monk said, if you need anything just let us know and we will teach you how to live without it.”

I thank my beloved ALPHA friends for being part of my wonderful journey and in particular, my Wife for her enduring love and support. I ask the Lord daily to keep me “humble and desperate.”

Fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands so that you may enjoy long life.  God Bless you all.


Matters of Health (Part 3)

Over the past 30 years tremendous progress has been made in understanding how and why we get cardiovascular disease.  Essentially this is a disease process of poor (bad) ageing of our heart and arteries driven by complex RISK factor interaction (see below).  The disease process is a chronic INFLAMMATORY disease of our arteries involving oxidative stress; inflammatory cells; inflammatory chemicals predominantly through oxidised LDL cholesterol molecules in our arterial wall (and heart).  The process involves increased coagulation (clotting) in our vessels.  Data is available that we NEVER need to get cardio vascular disease and in those individuals who have vascular disease we now have powerful tools (allopathic medication) to halt and even reverse the process.

Psalm 139:14

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful

1 Timothy 2:7

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe.

The size of the problem?


The World Health Organisation has identified cardiovascular disease as the commonest cause of current death worldwide.  Projected to 2030 ischaemic heart disease (atherosclerosis of coronary arteries) and stroke (atherosclerosis of head and neck arteries) will be two out of the top three killers in the world.  Even more worrying though, cardiovascular disease disables many more people than it kills.

What is atherosclerosis?


Atherosclerosis (ath”er-o-skleh-RO’sis) comes from the Greek words athero (meaning gruel or paste) and sclerosis (hardness). It is a chronic inflammatory process in which deposits of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium and other substances build up in the wall and inner lining of an artery. This build up is called plaque. It usually affects large and medium-sized arteries.  Plaques can grow large enough to significantly reduce the blood’s flow through an artery, but most of the damage occurs when plaques become fragile and rupture and cause blood clots to form that can block blood flow or break off and travel to vital organs.

There is a misperception that women are less at risk than men.  While women do tend to be protected from cardiovascular disease throughout their childbearing years, this protection falls away rapidly after the menopause, when they are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than from any other illness.


The spectrum of cardiovascular disease?


Atherosclerosis of our arteries is accelerated by certain conditions and lifestyle choices.  Where this occurs in the arteries that supply blood to the heart this may manifest as heart attack, angina, arrhythmia, sudden death or heart failure.  Atherosclerosis of the head and neck vessels may lead to stroke, dementia or other cognitive dysfunction.  Arterial disease of the peripheral arteries may cause poor circulation to the legs, kidneys or bowel and even lead to aneurysms (swelling of the weakened arteries).

The benefits of early detection?

Normally patients only see a doctor once they are aware of symptoms and the disease is already advanced.  By improving the precision of early detection to enable early treatment of cardiovascular disease, one can reduce the likelihood of premature death and disability.  It is usually the most productive and the most active sector of the population that becomes affected by vascular disease.  Early detection and intervention will result in a huge improvement in quality of life, a reduction in health care costs and a longer healthier and more productive life for the patient.  Fortunately it is now possible to identify asymptomatic “healthy” people who have “sub clinical” cardiovascular disease (below) and to provide lifestyle advice and treatment to modify their cardiovascular risk.

 Who is at risk for cardiovascular disease?


People with established cardiovascular disease require the most intensive lifestyle and drug intervention.  Seemingly healthy individuals at risk can be identified by genetic predisposition to vascular disease with strong family history of members succumbing to heart attack, heart failure, stroke and peripheral vascular disease at a young age. They can also be identified by their own risk factor profile and the presence or absence of sub clinical atherosclerosis identified by Carotid artery Ultrasound technology and other complrehensive imaging techniques. 

In the final part of this series “Matters of Health” Part 4 I will give solutions to PREVENT; arrest and reverse cardiovascular disease.

Matters of Health (Part 2)

The 2007 World Health Organisation statistics on World Morbidity and Mortality make frightening reading.  Despite our modern  world (21st Century) take a look at some really sobering data:

The Life expectancy in years for Males and Females for several countries:

  • Japan 79 (M) 86 (F)
  • Sweden 79 (M) 83(F)
  • South Africa 50 (M) 52 (F)
  •  Iran 68 (M) 73 (F)                                                                      
  •  Italy 78 (M) 84 (F)
  • United Kingdom 77 (M) 81 (F)
  • United States of America 75 (M) 80 (F)
  • Swaziland 38 (M) 37 (F)

The causes for poor longevity seems to be multi-factorial but includes POOR lifestyle choice with behavioural factors featuring high HIV prevalence among adults > 15 years/100 000 population in RSA is 16 579; in Swaziland 34 457 and compared to Japan < 100; UK 137 and USA 500.  Interestingly Cardiovascular disease once thought to be a disease of affluence is high in SA with mortality rates at 410/100 000 compared to Japan 106/100 000; Iran 466/100 000;  USA 188/100 000 and UK 182/100 000.

In Part 1 of “Matters of Health” I looked at the God’s “blue print” from the Old Testament.  The New Testament also provides us with adequate wisdom regarding health matters.

1 Corinthians 6:12

“I have the right to do anything,” you say-but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”- but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?  19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.

1 Peter 4:1

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do-living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

1 Timothy 2:6 

If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe.

So if we fully obey God’s commands; decrees and writings we are to live more fruitful, disease free, and long productive lives.  We have been given the wisdom and knowledge to live to optimal old age without chronic disease so why are we doing so badly…………………?

In “Matters of Health” Part 3, I will outline the modern (2011) Cardiology understanding of the pathophysiology of Cardiovascular disease; how to remain free of (Cardiovascular) disease incorporating God’s Divine inspired Word together with modern medicine/science and pharmacological intervention as required.

Matters of Health (Part 1)

I don’t think the general public realise just how unhealthy they really are despite the relative lack of symptoms.  The American Heart Association recently (February 2011) published alarming data taken from “healthy” Men and Women average age 59 years.  After defining 7 components of “ideal cardiovascular health”

  • Not smoking
  • Body-mass index (BMI) <25 kg/m2.(BMI = weight/height2)
  • Physically “very active.”
  • Consumption of three or more servings per day of fruits and vegetables.
  • Total cholesterol < 5.0 mmol/l untreated.
  • Systolic BP <120 mm Hg and diastolic BP <80 mm Hg untreated.
  • Fasting plasma glucose < 6.1 mg/dL untreated.

They found only 1/2000 (0.05%) individuals could “tick” all 7 boxes…………………Even if the parameters were reduced to 5 (excluding BMI as one) < 10% of the healthy subjects achieved the benchmark! 

The conclusion was that cardiovascular health status of the greater US community was miserable.

The article suggested we desperately need new tools to both assign risk and refine risk, and need new treatments to modify the natural history of those at moderate & highest risk. They suggested there must also be a much greater focus on the very prevention of risk itself (primordial prevention).

Perhaps the “blue print” for our Health has been available for a very long time as God’s inspired word starts off in Genesis with some good advice:

Genesis 1:26 

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground-everything that has the breath of life in it-I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” 

Genesis 6:3 

Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

Genesis 9:1

Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. 4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.

Leviticus 26:3

“‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4 I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. 5 Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land. 

14 “‘But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, 15 and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, 16 then I will do this to you: I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it.

Deuteronomy 7:15

The LORD will keep you free from every disease.

Proverbs 4 – Get Wisdom at Any Cost

1 Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.

12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. 

23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 10:17 & 27

17 Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.

27 The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.

Psalm 38:3

3 Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin. 5 My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. 7 My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. 8 I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. 10 My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes.

FINALLY the lessons learned from Daniel 1 (Daniel’s Training in Babylon)

1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. 3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility- 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well-informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.

6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. 8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 

11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.

17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.

In PART 2 I would like to share God’s Inspired Wisdom from the New Testament in “Matters of Health”

Circumstantial signs of God’s guiding hand

I recently recalled to some close friends some of the extraordinary things that have happened during my life.  In retrospect I am immensely grateful for God’s guiding hand during times when I never knew Him. 

In week 6 of the ALPHA course the topic covered is  – “How does God Guide us”?  The section on “Circumstantial Signs of God’s Guiding Hand” triggered an avalanche of memories.  How true written 2000 years ago John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day”. 

I feel really blessed I did not have to wait to that  “last day” to receive my call.  I now understand Jesus didn’t live on earth just to prove He is God. He came to give us eternal life, to offer us forgiveness and freedom from sin and guilt, to give us a full and meaningful life. It’s because Jesus is God that He can provide forgiveness from sin and enable us to live abundantly.

I was reminded today in my early morning devotional reading of 1 Samuel 7:12

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel; the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The Ebenezer was a stone commemorating God’s intervention in very difficult circumstances.  Samuel set it there to be a reminder to him of the presence of God.

I have been blessed with many Ebenezers without even knowing it.  When I look back over the years, it is absolutely incomprehensible to imagine where I would be if the Lord had not been there to bring me through those difficult circumstances.  Yes I constantly need an Ebenezer so that when I’m thinking life is way too difficult and I just won’t make it, I can turn around and look….a rock to remind me of God’s love and care.  Thus far the Lord has helped me; has guided each of my cross-roads so why should I think He has reached a point where He isn’t going to be there any longer.

I give thanks to God and commemorate the wonderful Ebenezers that He has given me during my life.


Have you ever inquired about a variety of barriers that might keep people from talking about emotive issues such as anger; anxiety and depression with their doctors?  

Researchers found that 43% of respondents said they had at least one reason for not telling their doctors about emotive symptoms. The most common reason, cited by 23% of those surveyed, was fear that their doctor would try to prescribe them mood modifying drugs (anti-depressant and sedative drugs). 

Thirteen percent said they were worried they would be referred to a psychiatrist and 12% said they didn’t want to be considered a psychiatric patient. A further, 16% didn’t think psychological issues fell under the purview of a primary care doctor, and 15% were concerned about medical record confidentiality. 

The findings suggest that a variety of reasons contribute to patients’ hesitancy to open up about their emotional problems, and that may help explain why about a quarter of (American) primary care patients with major mood/emotive disorders go undiagnosed and more importantly unmanaged.

Of interest to me is some of the discussion and suggestions regarding anger and holding grudges. It is well documented in our Cardiology literature that over the long-term, chronic feelings of resentment can harm your physical health.  Less well-studied  but well documented individually; is the destructive effect on mental and spiritual well-being.

Some suggestions in a recent TIME magazine article to reduced the stress associated with these emotive evils are interesting: 

1. Vent to a friend about what’s bothering you 

2. Remember that you’re not the only person in the world who’s ever been wronged 

3. Consider confronting the person who injured you 

4. Realize you’re only hurting yourself by holding a grudge 

5. Try to see things from the other person’s point of view

I see the solutions differently as it is my humble experience that man (and woman) by themselves (individually) are incapable of dealing with the destructive effects of bad emotions.

In Matthew 6:9 we are told how to pray for help….

“This, then, is how you should pray:” “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, as we also have forgiven our sinners. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

6:14 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Like other negative emotions – stress, depression and bitterness has documented physical cardiological consequences: high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, increased risk of heart disease including acute heart attack and stroke. The longer you hold a grudge, the more likely your negative emotions will take a toll on your heart and your health.

“The data that negative mental states cause heart problems is without controversy with the size of the effect pretty much the same as a well documented major cardiac risk factor – smoking.”

Life is tough and occasionally seemingly unjust.  We’re all apt to feel bitter about something at some point in our lives. The trick is not to let it become an acute or chronic problem. 

So perhaps there are different solutions to these negative emotions in particular hatred and retribution against others……

Colossians 3:12

“… as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Mark 11:25

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Luke 6:37

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

Psalm 130:4

“But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.”

 AND the ultimate lesson in forgiveness…..

 Luke 23:34 

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Yours in Blessing