Without realizing it, countless millions are shortening their lives, forfeiting happiness, committing slow suicide! How? By failing to control their emotions! Read how emotional control influences health, happiness, long life — and eternal salvation!
A LITTLE-PUBLICIZED, but highly important, conference was held in 1923 at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago. Nine of the world's most successful financiers attended that meeting. Among those present were Presidents of the largest steel, gas and utility companies in the world; the greatest wheat speculator; president of the New York Stock Exchange; a member of the President's cabinet; the greatest "Bear" on Wall Street; head of the world's largest monopoly and the president of the Bank of International Settlements. Here were gathered nine of the world's most "successful" men — men who had at least found the secret of making money. What had become of these great men — a quarter of a century later? Reports "Food for Thought": "The president of the largest independent steel company — Samuel Instill — died a fugitive from justice and penniless in a foreign land. "The president of the largest gas company — Howard Hopson — became insane. "The greatest wheat speculator — Arthur Cutten — died abroad — insolvent. "The president of the New York Stock Exchange — Richard Whitney — was recently released from Sing-Sing. "The member of the President's cabinet — Albert Fall — was pardoned from prison so he could die at home. "The greatest 'Bear' in Wall Street — Jesse Livermore — died a suicide. "The head of the greatest monopoly — Ivar Kruegar — died a suicide. "The president of the Bank of International Settlements — Leon Fraser — died a suicide. "All of these men learned well the art of making money, but not one of them learned how to live." This sad account of the lives of "successful" men points up something drastically wrong in our society. These men never learned proper emotional control! The great depression of 1929-39 may have been a contributing cause to the financial ruination, felonies, insanity and suicides of these men. Yet not one of them need have died in shame — had they really learned how to live! We might well be shocked to learn that three of these nine world "greats" committed suicide. Yet millions of ordinary people — maybe you — are committing slow suicide — without realizing it. Myriads who would never consider deliberately taking their own lives are in reality committing slow SUICIDE by giving free and uncontrolled rein to their emotions! It is time we understand how to control our emotions. Why do so many of us siphon away our energy, health, happiness — and our very life — through lack of emotional control?
Happiness Not Synonymous With Riches
Let's take an example of real emotional control. Nearly 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born into a humble, and certainly less than wealthy, family. He grew, to manhood as a hard-working carpenter in the city of Nazareth. He possessed little in the way of material possessions (Mark 6:3; Luke 9:58). He was, however, a man who knew how to make others supremely happy. He knew well the vital principle: "A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15). "I am come," He said, "that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). He inspired one of His very own apostles to write, "I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health..." (III John 2). Not only does Jesus Christ wish us to have health, wealth, pleasure and true happiness here and now. He wants us to enjoy these throughout all eternity! "Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are PLEASURES for evermore" (Ps. 16:11). Also, see I Timothy 6:17. But how? What are the rules of life that lead to this satisfying goal? Mankind has never discovered the way which would produce this radiant health, happiness and the ultimate — eternal life (Prov. 14:12, Isa. 55:6-9). Only God, through His written revelation to man, the Holy Bible, reveals it to man. See how it can work for you!
Why Emotional Control?
Why is every other hospital bed in the United 'States occupied by a mentally disturbed patient? Why does the average American have about fifty headaches per year — nearly one a week? Yes, why? Let's go back to the beginning of our troubles. Almighty God revealed the way of happiness to our first parents. He told Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden that if they transgressed His command, sorrow, emotional upsets, agony and finally death would ensue (Gen. 2:15-17). Understand how disobedience to the ways and laws of God actually brings about, in this life, physical illness, mental problems, and eventual death. Arrogant, blinded human beings often think they can flout the physical and spiritual laws of Almighty God with impunity. But a penalty is always exacted — sooner or later! Disobedience to — transgression of — God's laws is SIN. The result of physical sin? Physical and mental suffering, and finally death here and now. Not to mention the penalty of knowingly SINNING spiritually — the second death — a death for all eternity, from which there is no resurrection. The laws of God cannot be broken with impunity! Man's sins always boomerang!
How Not To Commit Suicide
Uncontrolled, runaway emotions such as anger, malice, fear, depression and guilt erode the health of every human being. So do drunkenness, gluttony, the use of drugs, tobacco, excessive amounts of stimulants, too many sweets and processed starchy foods, sexual excesses or any other form of dissipation. This is an age of increased knowledge. Yet how little understanding there is. In recent years a veritable avalanche of material has been published showing a very close connection between our health and the way we think. The mind (Greek: psyche) definitely affects the body (Greek: soma) and its proper functioning. That's why we call so many malfunctions of the human body psychosomatic — mind-body relationships. Notice how anger and worry adversely affect the body. "Many things," said Reader's Digest, British edition, December, 1962, "can upset the chain of normal digestive activity. Nervous tension and anger are prime offenders.... When a person is angry or worried the normally pink [colon] becomes beet-red and goes into a spasm. This slows or halts normal bowel activity and allows the lower intestine to absorb too much fluid from wastes passing through it. CONSTIPATION MAY RESULT. Today, doctors tend to believe that WORRY is the chief cause of constipation. Further they believe that excessive worry about elimination itself can be the principal culprit. Observes one doctor: 'It is not the Colon which needs treatment but the man who surrounds it'." Undoubtedly true in part. Uncontrolled emotions — such as anger, fear, guilt and worry — do affect body functioning, the heart, lungs, liver, intestines, stomach — including the endocrine glands. That's why it is vitally important to control one's thinking and emotions. Countless millions have aged prematurely because of living under a cloud of fear, worry, doubt or guilt. There are numerous instances in which a person has been frightened so badly that his hair turned completely white almost overnight.
Emotional Shock Can Cause Death
Excessive or prolonged fear, worry, hatred or guilt always have a destructive effect upon the human body. The mind and nervous system suffer also. Have you ever wondered what happens in the brain, as recorded on an electroencephalograph, when a person flies into a rage or becomes petrified with fear? You would be shocked to see the results! No normal mind or nervous system can stand up under an indefinite number of rages, or other severe emotional outbursts! The famous American surgeon, Dr. George W. Crile, said: "We fear not only in our minds hut in our HEARTS, BRAINS and VISCERA, that whatever the cause of fear and worry, the effect can always be noted in the cells, tissues and organs of the body" (The Power of Positive Thinking, Peale, p.144). And according to Dr. Stanley Cobb, neurologist, worry is closely connected with the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. "A doctor recently stated that there is an epidemic of fear and worry in this country. 'All doctors,' he declared, 'are having cases of illness which are brought on directly by fear, and aggravated by worry and a feeling of insecurity' " (ibid. p. 144). A New York physician wrote, "Sixty per cent of the people in this town are sick because they are maladjusted in their minds and in their souls. It is hard to realize that the modern soul is sick to such an extent that the physical organs pain" (ibid. p. 176). These doctors aren't joking! During the prophesied, soon-coming Great Tribulation, men will be so petrified with fear that their very bowels will pain them. Speaking of this Tribulation period, God asks, "Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?" (Jer. 30:6) Luke also mentions a soon-coming terrible time of fear, so great that it causes fainting and heart attacks. "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken" (Luke 21:25, 26). God means what He says. He made the human mind and body! According to Dr. Franklin Ebaugh (of the University of Colorado Medical School) one third of all cases of illness in our general hospitals are purely organic in nature and onset. Another third are caused by a combination of emotional and organic factors and one third are definitely emotional in origin. Yet with all this knowledge, why are so few living the way of joy, peace, happiness? Simply because they are unwilling to pay the price — to take the effort to rule their emotions and control their minds! "'We have discovered the psychosomatic cause [physical illness induced by misguided emotions] of high blood pressure as some form of subtle, repressed fear — a fear of things that might happen, not of things that are,' says Dr. Rebecca Beard.... 'In the case of diabetes, it is grief or disappointment which we found uses up more energy than any other emotion, thereby exhausting the insulin which is manufactured by the pancreas cells until they are worn out' " (The Power of Positive Thinking, pp. 177, 178).
Anger and Blood Pressure
A San Francisco physician, Dr. Charles Miner Cooper, in an article, "Heart to Heart Advice About Heart Trouble," says, "You must curb your emotional reactions. When I tell you that I have known a patient's blood pressure to jump sixty points almost instantaneously in response to an outburst of anger, you can understand what strain such reactions can throw upon the heart." Anyone who is "quick on the trigger," wrote Dr. Cooper, is apt to blame someone else, impulsively, for a mistake or fault. It would be much wiser simply to avoid being upset by what is already done. The eminent Scottish surgeon, Dr. John Hunter, once had a serious heart condition himself. He also had a thorough understanding of the adverse effect of strong emotion on his heart condition. His life, he said, was literally at the mercy of anyone who could annoy him. His death, in fact, followed a heart attack caused by a fit of anger when he forgot to discipline his emotions! Many suffer poor health because of poor diet! Countless others suffer — not because of what they eat — but from what eats away at them — their emotions!
Physical Diseases Caused by Uncontrolled Emotions
Remember, when you are angry, adrenalin shoots through the body. You're then ready for action. A person cannot continue to live under strong emotional strains for long without suffering dire physical, emotional or mental consequences from these body chemicals. In some respects, the human body is like a machine. A machine may be "revved up" to its full speed at times with little or no damage. But if this is done frequently or continued very long, undue wear and ultimate engine failure inevitably result! Listen to this testimony: "In my own practice," says Dr. Kurt S. Wachtel, "I have found that many organic symptoms and disease entities are also often caused by the mind" (Your Mind Can Make You Sick or Well, Dr. Wachtel, p. 11). He then lists, among others, the following: ulcers, jaundice, gall bladder disease and liver damage, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting and colic, thyroid disease, obesity, leanness, palpitation, hypertension, coronary disease, cerebral hemorrhage, stroke, arthritis, rheumatism, gout, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis and frequent colds. Notice how many diseases are now believed to be either partially or wholly caused by the uncontrolled emotions of an undisciplined mind. This does not mean that all such diseases are always caused by wrong emotions. Many diseases can have a variety of causes. In her book, Mind and Body, Dr. H. Flanders Dunbar mentions such diseases as allergies, tuberculosis, hysterical blindness, high blood pressure, migraine, colitis, diabetes, hay fever, and numerous others. She feels all of these ailments are either of psychosomatic origin or are closely associated with "mental and emotional disturbances." Add to this list goiter, constipation, epilepsy, painful menstruation, impotence, frigidity, hives and false pregnancy. Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and cancer are also believed by Dr. Winter to be, in part, of psychosomatic origin (Are Your Troubles Psychosomatic? Winter, p. 17). Nobody knows for sure the full extent to which the mind affects the body. There can be no question, however, that runaway emotions can and do drastically affect the functioning of the human body. They certainly impair its normal functions, bringing on physical deterioration, disease, suffering and all too often premature death! Man has only recently come to realize the true significance of this psychosomatic (mind-body) relationship. Though it has been revealed in the Bible all these centuries. If man had believed God, he could have known this truth thousands of years sooner. For the past three thousand years, God's written Word has faithfully and consistently proclaimed to man that the way of sin, of disobedience, of rebellion against God's laws, will always produce suffering and untimely death. Man has been reluctant — if not totally unwilling — to heed God's warning! And he has reaped a mountain of sin, woe, disease, mental anguish and death!
Solomon Understood Psychosomatics
King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, definitely knew of this psychosomatic (mind-body) relationship. He was inspired by the Holy Spirit to mention psychosomatic relationships throughout the Book of Proverbs. Notice a few of these examples often overlooked even by doctors: A hardened, merciless man does detriment to his own health, his own flesh, when he maintains his hardhearted, cruel attitude toward his fellow human beings. "The merciful man does good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubles his own flesh" (Prov. 11:17; see also Prov. 12:10). It is better to have very few material possessions where there is peace, love and harmony, than to have a mansion, limousines, a huge bank account — with strife, bickering and hatred in the family! "All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith" (Prov. 15:15-17). "Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife" (Prov. 17:1). Notice Proverbs 14:30: "A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones." Envy is one of those human emotions which has a bad effect on the body. "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones" (Prov. 16:24). "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly" (Prov. 18:8). Have we not all experienced some gossipy, cutting remark which a careless tongue had uttered in regard to ourselves? Don't such verbal wounds make your stomach churn and knot up? Notice how the fifth commandment contains a promise of longevity. "Honor thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee" (Deut. 5:16, Eph. 6:1). "He that is slow to anger [controls his temper] is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that takes a city" (Prov. 16:32). Many (if not all) of the great conquerors of history were men who, though they conquered nations and ruled vast empires, yet were unable to govern their emotions. Alexander the Great was given over to temper tantrums, had fits, thrust his best friend through with a spear. He died in a drunken debauch at the age of 33 after a period of prolonged dissipation at Babylon. He had conquered the whole civilized world, but could not conquer himself! And remember that emotions of themselves are not evil! God created them. He does not want us to squelch them, but rather learn to control them! God Himself has emotions! He hates sin, but He loves every sinner (John 3:16). The right kind of anger, fear and other emotions play a vital part in our lives when properly controlled! As an example, when your house catches fire, fear motivates you to save yourself, others or your physical property by fleeing or by putting out the fire.
How to Control Emotions
How, then, can man ever learn to control or master his emotions instead of letting them master him? He can't do this of himself! Man can never learn to control his emotions without help from God. "O, Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jer. 10:23). Man can learn to control his emotions only when he learns to obey God and let His love be "shed abroad" in his heart by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). But before one can receive God's Spirit, he must (1) repent of breaking the laws of God, accept Christ as his personal Savior and (2) he must be baptized (Acts 2:38). God's laws must be written in man's mind and heart before he can keep them! (Heb. 8:10, Deut. 5:29) God's Word points out to man the only true way to real peace of mind, health and happiness! "Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them" (Psa. 119:165). Learn to love and obey God's law. Then you can have "perfect peace" of mind. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee..." (Isa. 26:3). Once man begins to keep the laws and commandments of Almighty God, then and only then will he have peace of mind, health, happiness and the promise of eternal life. "My son, forget not my law, but let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee" (Prov. 3:1-2). Notice that if one keeps God's law, long life and peace will naturally ensue. "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones" (vs. 7, 8). Truly, the keeping of God's commandments will produce radiant health! When a man develops a wholesome, clean fear of the Lord and quits transgressing God's laws (I John 3:4), then, and only then, will he have real health. "My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh" (Prov. 4:20-22). Unfortunately, today, many professing Christians believe God is a harsh, stern taskmaster. His law is looked upon as being hostile to man and against man's best interests. Nothing could be farther from the truth! God's law is the way of love and good health.
God's Love Defined
Countless millions woefully misunderstand the true meaning of love. Love is often looked upon as a fluffy, sentimental feeling. But God's love is not an ethereal, nebulous nothingness. It is the most dynamic force in the whole Universe! "God is love" (I John 4:8). "For THIS is the love of God, that we KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS: and HIS COMMANDMENTS ARE NOT GRIEVOUS" (I John 5:3). Why can't people believe God's Word?
Emotional Control — Result of Divine Love
He who is filled with the love of God will not have fear, because "Perfect love casteth out fear" (I John 4:18). He will not have hatred toward anyone, because he will obey Christ's command: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matt. 5:44). He will not be weighed down with feelings of guilt. He knows he has repented and God has forgiven him of all his sins (I John 1:9). One who is really filled with the true love of God will not hate anyone (I John 3:15). Will not fear anyone or anything (including even death), "For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). (Also note God's promises found in the 23rd Psalm) Such a person will not worry about the future. He will have serene faith in God's promise: "My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19). (See also Matt. 6:33) He will not be frustrated, or plagued with the emotional upsets which beset the average person, leading to sickness and early death. Only through the indwelling presence of God's love — His Spirit — can man ever learn to control such emotions as hate, worry and guilt. Today, millions are slowly committing suicide by harboring wrong emotions! Countless millions are sick — mentally and physically! How can man ever acquire a sound mind and body? "The end of the matter, all having been heard: "Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole man" (Eccl. 12:13, Jewish translation). If one will keep all of God's commands, he will become a balanced, whole, sound individual — both in mind and in body! Yes, Jesus Christ knew what He was talking about, and He literally meant what He said when He solemnly declared, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). Only through heeding the Word of God, keeping His commandments and living by His laws, can mankind ever attain to real health, happiness, peace of mind and eternal life! This is how mankind can stop committing suicide!