One day, a man came to a priest and said, “Father, please help me. My wife is poisoning me.”
“What? How can you be sure?” the priest asked.
“I’m very sure!”
The priest was very concerned. He said, “Let me talk to your wife. I’ll see what I can find out—and I’ll let you know.”
The next day, the man came to the priest again.
“What happened, Father?”
“I called your wife. I talked to her for three solid hours! Do you want my advice?”
“What’s your advice, Father?”
“Drink the poison.”
Why People Are Sick
Do you know why so many people are sick?
Because their relationships are poisoning them.
So many people are starving for love.
But all they get is poison.
Today, I’m going to make a bold claim: I can predict the state of your health 30 years from now. How? By asking you a simple question: How’s your relationship with your parents?
Let me tell you where I got this…
The Effect Of Our Parents’ Love
From 1956 to 1991, Harvard asked 126 healthy men to rate their relationship with their parents, whether it was…
a. Very Close
b. Warm and Friendly
d. Strained and Cold
(Go right ahead and choose two answers, one describing your relationship with your Mom and the other with your Dad.)
These researchers went back to these men 35 years later.
Among the men who said they had “very close, warm, and friendly” relationships with both their parents, 47% had major illnesses. But 53% of them were healthy.
You might say, “Well Bo, what’s so surprising about that? Isn’t that normal—half are healthy and half are sick?”
Yes, that’s normal.
But the next answers aren’t.
After 35 years…
§ Among the men who said only their mother was warm and close, and their father wasn’t, 82% were sick; 18% were healthy.
§ Among the men who said only their father was warm, and their mother wasn’t, 91% of them were sick; Only 9% were healthy.
§ Here’s the worst. Among the men who rated both their father and mother low in warmth and closeness, 100% of them were sick. None of them were healthy!
By sick, I mean major diseases like heart disease, ulcers, hypertension, even alcoholism.
I have good news for you: You don’t have to follow these statistics. Because God has another plan for your life.
He wants you to be vibrant and healthy and strong.
If you follow what God is telling you to do today, you’ll experience health and healing in your body.
But first, let me explain why we get sick when we lack love.
Sickness Is Separation
God designed our bodies for love.
The Bible says, It is not good for the man to be alone (Genesis 1:18).
Think of fish. Pull it out of water and it dies. Because its body was made for water. In the same way, our bodies were made to swim in love. Pull us out of love and we die. Our bodies get sick, become weak, and perish.
Whenever we move towards separation, conflict, isolation, and loneliness, we get sick.
Stress is really separation.
Worry is separation.
Fear is separation.
Sadness is separation.
We’re afraid because we feel alone.
We’re sad because we feel no one is there for us.
Anger and unforgiveness is also separation.
Here’s my belief: Any movement towards separation makes us sick. But any movement towards connection makes you whole!
When you forgive, when you love, when you trust, you walk towards your healing.
Take a look at this small town called Roseto.
The Effect Of Our Neighbor’s Love
Roseto has become very famous because Malcolm Gladwell wrote about it in his bestselling book, Outliers.
For many years, this small town in Pennsylvania was a “medical anomaly”. Doctors and researchers couldn’t understand why Roseto’s residents were incredibly healthy.
For example, virtually no one in Roseto had heart disease!
And the death rate for those age fifty to sixty years old was half that of the entire USA.
So many theories came up to explain this medical anomaly. They said perhaps it was the air they breathed. Or the water they drank. Or the food they ate. But after much research, all these theories didn’t hold water.
Why? Because right beside it was another town named Nazareth. And people of Roseto and Nazareth ate the same food, drank the same water, and breathed the same air.
But Nazareth, just a few miles away, had a lot of people with heart disease. And their death rate of old people followed the national average.
So what was so special about Roseto?
After many years of study, Doctors finally found the answer.
Many years ago, the people of a tiny village in Italy, also called Roseto, migrated to America.
They pitched their tents in a place in Pennsylvania and called their town Roseto too. And these migrants brought with them their close-knit relationships.
For years, they were insulated from the “individualist” lifestyle of America.
Let me give you a glaring fact: Unlike many Americans, in Roseto, three generations lived under one roof!
Grandpa, grandma, all the children and their spouses, and all the grandchildren still lived in one house, eating together everyday. Imagine the noise. Imagine the fights. Imagine the chaos. But imagine also the love!
Here’s a second unique thing about this town. After dinner, you’d see neighbors gathering on their wooden porches and talking over a hot cup of coffee. You’d see neighbors greeting each other on the street and chitchatting. No one is rushing. Everyone knows everybody.
And that, my friend, was the only reason for the medical anomaly in Roseto: Something called Love.
Create This Medical Anomaly
In Your Family
I believe God wants you to build a Roseto in your family.
He wants you to be 100% healthy.
He wants your family to be 100% healthy too.
How do you receive this grace?
Increase your love in your heart.
Increase your love in your family.
Spend more time together.
Go home after work and play with your kids.
Date your spouse.
Eat together often.
Laugh with your friends.
Better yet, serve together.
You’ll bless your loved ones with spectacular health.
Because only love heals.
4 Prescriptions To Heal Your Body
By The Power Of Love
Let me go to specific ways of healing.
Here are four things you can do to increase healing in your body by the power of love.
1. Open Up More
Dr. David Spiegel wanted to disprove my very message—that love has something to do with health.
He got women with metastatic breast cancer and divided them into two sections. The women in the first section were each given small support groups. These small groups were to meet for 90 minutes each week for sharing and encouragement.
The second section didn’t have these support groups.
Result? Those women in the first section, who had weekly support groups, lived twice as long as the other women.
Sadly, after five years, all the women in the second section were dead.
Dr. Spiegel was proven wrong.
Love has everything to do with your health!
If you want to be healed, open up in your close relationships. If you don’t have close relationships, find them.
In Light of Jesus, we don’t only have large gatherings like the Feast. We also have Caring Groups. These are small groups of 8 to 15 people who gather each week for sharing and loads of fun.
So here’s my first prescription for you: Join a Caring Group.
God wants to bring healing to your body. And He’ll do it by your close relationships.
They’ll change your life and heal your bodies too.
I’ve been part of these small, nourishing, Caring Groups for 30 years now. I can’t imagine my life without them. Each week, I always look forward to these relaxing, happy, fun meetings. I believe they’re the best stress-busters in the world.
2. Touch More
Do you have a pet?
You’ll find this next study riveting.
In Ohio, researchers wanted to measure the effect of a high-cholesterol diet among rabbits.
So they fed rabbits food rich in cholesterol. (I have no idea what they fed Bugs Bunny and his friends. Aligue? Crispy pata?)
In one room, rabbits were stacked in wired cages from floor to ceiling. All of them were given the same food rich in cholesterol.
The doctors were expecting all the rabbits to develop blockages in their arteries.
But the results boggled their minds. The rabbits at the higher cages got more blockages than the ones in the lower cages.
It made no sense.
The rabbits were of the same genetic background.
But after much thinking, they found the answer.
A very obvious, simple answer.
They discovered that the guy who fed the rabbits loved animals. He would play with them, pet them, cuddle them, and stroke them.
But here was the problem: He was short.
So he could play only with the rabbits in the lower cages. He couldn’t play with the rabbits in the higher cages. He could only feed them.
Result? The rabbits that were petted, cuddled, caressed, and loved had 60% less blockages in their arteries.
That’s the power of touch.
Go Against Your Culture
And Show Affection
If affection is good for rabbits, it must be good for you too.
I recommend that you touch, hug, and caress your loved ones more often. They need it. (Correction: They starve for it.)
And you need it too.
When I say this, some tell me, “But Bo, my family isn’t the touchy-feely type. It’s just not our family culture. We feel corny and icky when we do that.”
Then don’t follow your culture.
Unless, of course, you want to get sick.
Let me give you an example of culture.
Psycholgist Sydney Jourard wanted to measure the number of times couples touched in a restaurant. So he went around the world and through hidden cameras counted the number of “touches”.
In Puerto Rico, couples touched 180 times an hour.
In Paris, couples touched 110 times an hour.
But in the United States, they touched only 2 times an hour.
And in London, it was zero!
Too bad he didn’t come here to the Philippines.
But our national average isn’t important.
Here’s my second prescription: Today, make a decision to create a culture of touch in your family. If you know how important touching is to the health of your loved ones, you’ll do it.
Make a conscious effort to embrace each other everyday.
I embrace my kids everyday—and it’s good for them, and it’s good for me too!
Embrace your children.
Embrace your parents.
Embrace your friends.
We need hugs for our physical survival.
3. Volunteer More
Receiving love is important.
But giving love is important too.
In a huge study done by Cornell University, they gathered 427 married women with children. They hypothesized that the more kids a mother has (and thus, more stress), the earlier she dies.
They were wrong. The number of kids wasn’t a factor at all.
They were shocked to discover that the determining factor of a mother’s longevity was something very simple: whether she did volunteer work or not in a volunteer organization.
After thirty years, they went back to these 427 women.
Here were the results:
· Among the women who didn’t do volunteer work, 52% had major illnesses.
· Among the women who did regular volunteer work, only 36% had major illnesses.
You get sick because you move towards separation.
How does healing happen?
When you move towards connection.
When you love and receive love, your body rejoices.
Your body is happy!
And your body becomes strong.
Today, I ask you: Do you do volunteer work?
Do you give of yourself to people who won’t be able to pay you back? I invite you to join a ministry in your prayer group or charity work.
My third prescription for 100% health:
For a few hours a week, forget yourself. Think of others. Go out of your way. Serve strangers.
And yes, welcome healing into your body.
4. Accept More
I’ve got a great marriage.
People ask me, “Bo, what’s your secret? If there’s one thing that I can do to have a great marriage, what would it be?”
I tell them my secret.
It’s very simple, really.
Everyday in my marriage, I face a choice: To be right or to be loving. And I always choose to be loving.
There are times when I’m totally convinced that I’m right and my wife is totally wrong. But I’ve long decided never to insist that I’m right. I just love her. Believe me, this decision has made my marriage—and my life—so enjoyable. (And after two years or so, I realize I was wrong and she was right. Oh well…)
And my body is healthier too!
I heard Deepak Chopra once talk about this. He said if you want to be healed, you have to lose your need to defend your point of view.
War is the defense of a point of view.
But war has never worked. Just look at the history of the world. No one wins in a war!
Hey, it’s great to have a point of view. (It’s healthy.)
But don’t be attached to it.
Because no two people will experience reality in the same way. Repeat: When you lose your rigid need to be right, you experience healing.
Do you want to be healthy?
Here’s my fourth and last prescription: Don’t judge.
Deepak says that in the silence of non-judgment, healing comes. (Silence happens because much of the noise in our minds is the noise of judgment.)
When you drop your defenses, there is nothing to attack.
Also, if you want to be healthy, choose the people you hang out with—those who don’t add to your stress. Have cheerful friends. Proverbs 22:24 says, Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered…
You Will Be Healed
Friend, God wants to heal you.
God wants you to be healthy.
This is His great desire for you.
And the only way to be healthy is to live in love.
In the same way that fish need to live in the water, you too need to live in love.
Move towards connection with my four prescriptions.
· Open up more.
· Touch more.
· Serve more.
· And accept more.
Fill your life with love!
And you will be healed.
May your dreams come true,
PS. Do you want a stronger, tighter, happier family? I just wrote a new book for you, entitled, How To Build A Happy Family. You can get it for free, including a 7-session audio and video course, Relationship Reborn, when you join my brand new FamilyReborn Club. Bring more love and healing to your family and prevent them from drifting apart. Go to www.FamilyReborn.com now!