Weekly Thought – June 15, 2021
Fred thought much about maturity and health. He engaged in conversations with interesting people who wanted to pursue these themes. As a lifelong learner he constantly sought out ways to deepen his knowledge. One of his areas of intellectual pursuit was emotional health. This week’s excerpt was written in the 80s before psychological research delved into the effect of shame on humans.
In the coming months the archive will undergo a process of capturing the content stored on 3×5 cards – over 13,000 of them! This will be a robust undertaking, but one which will further provide access to Fred’s thinking.
Keeping Things Healthy
I have eclectic reading interests although I stay within the context of philosophy, psychology, and theology. This allows me to study deeply about the nature of God and the nature of man.
My friend T. George Harris, former editor of American Health, devoted an entire issue to the healthful advantages derived from fun. The Christian has the great possibility of moving on to joy. George, Norman Cousins and others in the medical community are building a body of research on the impact of laughter on physical health and healing. Long before they began their studies we find scripture which supports their thinking: “A merry heart does good like a medicine.”
There is a downside to this principle, as well. Scientists are finding that cocaine attacks the pleasure center of the brain. After repeated and prolonged usage, the addict cannot feel pleasure without cocaine.
An article on shame pointed out the neglect of this as a source emotion from which other emotions spring. Much study has been done on guilty, but shame is just now coming into a research topic. I have been doing thinking about it. When I was with Dr. Weber, the Stanford professor of plastic surgery, we had an opportunity to talk about the topic. He said that much is done to improve self-image. As I considered this I saw the difference between shame and guilt. One is an evaluation of condition the other is a reaction to behavior based on personal value systems. The article said that the only physical evidence of shame is “a turning away of the face.” It makes me think of Adam’s response to God, “I hid myself for I was ashamed.”
Revenge is not present in the emotional repertoire of healthy people. It is definitely one of the most damaging of all emotions. Hans Selye, the noted Nobel prize winning scientist in studying stress concluded revenge is the number one emotion to avoid. In having lunch with a corporate President he told me of extremely difficult times centered around a competitor. “I am going to get those suckers!” was his response. I reminded him that good competition is perfectly healthy, but revenge is beyond the pale, especially for a Christian. Scripture says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” God doesn’t want us filling our lives with a vengeful attitude.
Emotional health is part of the bedrock for good living. As we establish well-being the anchors are financial, relational, physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional maturity.
This week carefully consider: 1) How would I measure my emotional well-being? 2) What remnants of revenge still exist? 3) Who can I help assess their maturity?
Words of Wisdom: “Revenge is not part of the emotional repertoire of healthy people.”
Wisdom from the Word: “For it says in scripture, ‘Look, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and whoever believes in him will never be put to shame.’” (1 Peter 2:6 NET Bible)