We often hear some version of the following claim, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything,” or its positive expression, “If you have your health, you’ve got everything.” There is no question that our physical health is vitally important to our overall well-being!
For many, chemical sensitivities pose a real threat to their health—and probably for all of us, even more than we know.
But I’d like to challenge the above claim, not to discredit it or diminish its importance, but to contrast it with a disease and sickness that threatens even more than health itself. In all reality, other physical diseases pale in comparison to the devastating effects of this disease.
The disease I’m referring to results each year in thousands of murders, tens of thousands of rapes, and hundreds of thousands of robberies in the US. But this sickness is not just confined to “criminals.” This disease manifests itself in child and spousal abuse, road rage, bigotry, outbursts of anger, and malicious lawsuits.
This illness destroys families, wrecks marriages, ruins relationships, alienates friends, and divides a nation. Its more subtle symptoms surface as arrogance, greed, cheating, lying, unforgiveness, ungratefulness, vulgarity, profanity, and lack of love, mercy, or self-control.
Not only is this disease horrible in its symptoms, manifestations, and outcomes, but it is terrible in its dominance. There is no portion of the population that has been spared from infection. Contamination is universal.
In fact, as humans, we’re genetically predisposed to this disease. There’s no avoiding it. We may each exhibit its symptoms in varying degrees, but we’re all capable and culpable. We are all infected. We all stand guilty.
In contrast to harmful chemicals, viruses and bacteria that threaten our health from outside of us, Jesus Christ explained, “It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” Obviously, I’m talking about the pervasive spiritual disease of sin.
But as is often the case with a diagnosis, one of the initial responses is denial. In the case of this spiritual disease, we express denial in many ways: “I’m not as bad as so-and-so.” Or, “Sin’s not a real disease.” Or, “I’m not a bad person.” Or, “Who says I have this disease?”
Sadly, it’s possible for a person to have their health, but not have much else. After all, what is physical health if we have no one to enjoy it with? What is freedom from illness, cancer, or MCS if our lives are still plagued by the awful effects of sin? Jesus asked, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”
In an article on multiple chemical sensitivities, the author asserts that “Most serious health problems come from difficult relationships between people.” Perhaps we’ve all experienced the gut-wrenching torment of a broken relationship and the havoc it wreaks on us physically, emotionally and spiritually. This is sin-induced stress.
I’m not saying that all stress stems from sin, but often it does. Feelings of guilt, remorse, regret, anxiety, fear, anger, envy, jealousy, etc. are often prompted by sin in our lives or by that imposed on us by others. These emotions create stress in our lives and we know that stress aggravates MCS. From this perspective, addressing sin in our lives may help relieve or prevent an MCS reaction.
In fact, until we resolve the issue of sin in our lives, we find ourselves in opposition to God. Our sin creates a rift in our relationship with him, so that we’re estranged from him. Depending on our spiritual sensitivities, we may or may not even be aware of this broken relationship—but it exists.
Fortunately, God loves us too much to leave us guilt-ridden and helplessly “sick” in our sin. The passage below refers to Christ and what he has done for us to remedy our plight.
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
This is why God sent his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus died for our sins. He suffered to pay the penalty for our sins so that we might be reconciled to God. Obviously, if it took the death of God’s Son to break the power of sin, then there’s nothing you or I can do to earn or merit this priceless gift. Instead, Christ offers us forgiveness from our sins and restored relationship with his Father if we put our trust in him.
Trusting Christ for the forgiveness of sin may not heal your MCS, but it definitely can heal the much more deadly disease of sin. Also, in relationship with Christ, he offers love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These virtues transcend MCS in importance and may even provide some relief and prevention from its ill-effects.
My intent is not to belittle or diminish the suffering you might be experiencing from a physical ailment like MCS. But I encourage you to experience whole-person healing and health—not merely of your physical body, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Christ extends forgiveness of sin freely for all who call on him. Trust in Christ today and experience healing from sin and its ravages.
You’ll also discover that Jesus cares deeply about you and your physical and emotional suffering due to MCS. The comfort and encouragement he gives can give you stamina and tremendous relief.
I can say with conviction, “If you have Christ, you really do have everything.”
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