I have always loved this parable: “An old legend tells of a young boy who was kidnapped by gypsies. He was held as one of their tribe and his memory faded of his princely background. Years later, when passing through his former kingdom, he was recognized.
“An old well-loved retainer saw in the grown man the stolen boy prince. He got to him pleadingly recalling his true heritage and the greatness of his estate. But the boy had been so inured that he could not accept anything else. He turned his back on his heritage, forfeiting his rightful kingdom and continued to live a lie about his being.”
This story has often reminded me of the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans. He wrote, (12:2) “…be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of you mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect, will of God.”
How many of us accept old thought patterns as a way of life – that anger, frustration, laziness, stubbornness or sadness are just a way of life for us – instead of something that we can change? Is that being comformed to this world? Is that just a “kidnapped” way of thinking – and is there more for us than that?
Dale Fletcher, M.S. in the Faith and Health connection website thinks so. He wrote, “I’m not sure most of us really recognize the importance of our thought life and the impact that it has on our emotions and our bodies. One of the most important spiritual exercises that we can put into practice for improved health is to monitor our thought life and to adjust our thinking so that it is ‘healthy’ or spiritual.”
He quoted Don Colbert, M.D. author of Deadly Emotions: Understand the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection That can Heal or Destroy You, “I’ve worked with countless people who have discovered that once they made a sincere effort to tackle their dysfunctional thought patterns, they had fewer bouts with depression, anxiety, anger, shame, jealousy, and other toxic emotions. It isn’t difficult to replace lies with God’s truth. It just takes intentional and consistent effort….It takes the time and energy to find statements of God’s truth and apply them to life’s lies.”
Fletcher continued, “Do you dwell on past hurts and pains? Is the deep resentment you keep towards another person eating at you deep in your heart?” He responds, “Replace these negative thoughts with thoughts that are spiritual, pure and positive….Monitor what you put into your mind. What kind of music do you listen to? Are the TV shows you watch healthy for you? What do you read? Are the internet sites you frequent consistent with your desire to have spiritually healthy thoughts?”
In his book, Your Best Life Now (pps. 161-162), Joel Osteen shares this story about how renewing one’s thought had a great impact on a man crippled with arthritis. He wrote, “When I was growing up, we had a former Methodist minister in our church. His hands were so crippled with arthritis, he could hardly use them. Thy looked as though they had shriveled up and were deformed. He couldn’t open a car door. He couldn’t shake hands or anything like that. As long as I’d known him, his hands had been that way. But one day, he went to my dad and showed him his hands – they were perfectly normal! He could move them like any of us, almost as though he had received a new set of hands.
“My dad was surprised, but so happy for him. He said, ‘Man, what in the world happened to you?’
‘Well, it’s an interesting story,’ the former minster said. ‘Several months ago, you were talking about unforgiveness. You were speaking on how it keeps God’s power from operating in our lives, and how it keeps our prayers from being answered. As I listened, I began to ask God to show me if I had any areas of unforgiveness and resentment in my life. And God began to deal with me. He brought to light several situations that had happened to me down through the years in which people had done me wrong. I didn’t even know it, but I still had anger and resentment in my heart towards those people. That’s the odd part; I didn’t realize I was carrying it around. But as soon as I saw it, I made a decision to forgive them and totally let it go. And then the most amazing thing began to happen. One by one, my fingers started straightening out. One week went by and this finger would be healed. The next week this finger. As I continued to search my heart and eliminate all that bitterness and resentment, God brought complete healing back to me, and now look at my hands, I’m perfectly normal!”
We don’t have to stay captive to anger, stress, frustration, or any unhealthy thinking. We are not princes help in sick bodies – through the renewal of our mind
– we can find better health.
©2013 Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois