It’s our nature to become overly focused on unpleasant symptoms. Relief will drive us to try many things, some of them questionable. But the danger in relieving only the symptoms is that if we fail to look beneath them, we may not deal with the cause in a timely manner. And when it comes to both our spiritual and physical well-being, this can be deadly.
A look back in time proves this to be true even when a young boy was bitten by a rabid dog roaming the streets of a small community in the Midwest. His physician set about cleaning the wound and carefully bandaging the area. He consoled the boy and his mother by assuring them that, although rabies was likely, the wound would heal nicely! His torn flesh and painful arm were symptoms of an insidious, deadly disease that would cause his death if not treated with the proper vaccination.
Negative emotions and responses to the things life throws at us are often a symptom of something deeper going on inside, just as physical symptoms are the result of something deeper that must be addressed. Jesus spoke of this truth in the Book of Matthew when He confronted the pharisees for their insincerity:
“Woe to you, Pharisees, and you religious leaders—hypocrites! You are so careful to polish the outside of the cup, but the inside is foul with extortion and greed. Blind Pharisees! First cleanse the inside of the cup, and then the whole cup will be clean.” Matthew 23: 25-27
The pharisees were not the only ones with this problem. When we focus only on the symptoms: jealousy, anger, envy, hurt feelings, we may be able to alleviate the immediate reaction, but we will find ourselves in the same place again and again because we have not looked beyond and sought the help and healing of Christ.
What are your symptoms? Perhaps you’re feeling jealous, or angry, much of the time. These are often symptoms of fear. “Will I ever have what I desire from God?” This lack of trust must be remedied before the symptoms of anger and jealousy can be alleviated– before the outside cup can be polished.
What ever you’re experiencing inside, let the Great Physician help you look honestly at what’s underneath, and then allow Him to heal your heart and soul.