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Healing the brokenhearted


Painting by Peter Fendi (1796-1842)/Wikipedia

Painting by Peter Fendi (1796-1842) Credit: Web Gallery of Art: Wikipedia

According to an article in the Daily Mail, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have concluded that three traumatic events have the potential to cause heart disease in postmenopausal women.

The group led by Dr. Rebecca Thurston presented their findings to the 2017 North American Menopause Society annual meeting held in Philadelphia Oct 11-14.

In their study, Thurston and her group were trying to determine if psychological factors had an impact on a woman’s heart.

They conducted an indepth survey with 272 women asking the typical questions such as their exercise, smoking and eating habits.

But they then went further and asked the women how many traumatic events they had in their lives. This included a wide-range of things such as the the death of a child or spouse, physical assault and experiencing some type of natural disaster.

Based on this survey, they concluded that if women experienced just three traumatic events it had the potential to cause heart disease. It showed that these events negatively affected the inner lining of a woman’s blood vessels (endothelial function). This leads to higher blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease.

The Bible refers to an interesting condition described as a broken heart. The Prophet Isaiah said that healing a broken heart would be one of the key ministries of the Messiah, Jesus Christ:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners; (Isaiah 61:1 NASV)

The phrase brokenhearted is made up of two Hebrew words “nisbre” that means to be weakened, broken or destroyed and “leb” that refers to the inner man and describes the emotions, mind and conscience.

When Isaiah says that God sent Jesus to bind the brokenhearted, the prophet was not referring to a physical problem, but rather emotional and psychological pain.

It shows that healing a broken heart is as important to God as healing our physical problems. And if the University of Pittsburgh study is right, this is because it can lead to serious physical problems.

The Hebrew word ‘habos’ refers to binding and describes bandages used to heal wounds (Job 5:18). But when used in the context of healing a broken heart it means to “inspire with confidence, and give hope and courage to.”

But also notice how the Holy Spirit plays a key role in this healing, as He anointed Jesus to bind up the brokenhearted. The Holy Spirit wants to bring emotional healing in our lives through Christ. He wants to heal us from the effects of emotional trauma.

I believe one of the keys to such healing is forgiveness. We need to forgive those who caused the trauma. Forgiveness helps us release the pain and anger associated with those events:

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31-32 NASV)

It not only involves forgiving others but even forgiving ourselves. If you struggle with this, then ask the Holy Spirit to help you do this (Romans 8:26). It is a necessary step to healing a broken heart.

Sources:

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