“When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me, my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledge my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord; and you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32: 3-5)
In his book Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions, James Pennebaker, professor of Psychology at the University of Texas, described a classical study from which he extracted important deductions. Interested in the connection between expressing traumatic experiences and physical manifestations, he divided a class of psychology students in three groups.
He asked the participants in the first group to write about the traumas they experienced throughout their life of which sexualtraumas from adolescences were the most frequently narrated ones.
He asked the second group to write whatever they wanted, without assigning them a specific topic. For the third group, he did not ask them to write anything for the purpose of establishing a reference value. Afterwards,he kept track of how many times the students got sick or visited the university healthcare center.
The results revealed that those who expressed their traumas did not get sick as often as the participants of the other two groups; on the other hand, those who did not write anything were the ones who got sick the most. There are negative experiences that are being kept in people’s heart for years. Some are related to situations in which the person was the victim. Others involve bad decisions which left an indelible mark in their memory and include a great emotional burden. Other include guilt feelings for having caused great harm to other(s) or even to oneself. In each situations, where the facts are hidden and the negative feelings are suppressed, normal function of immune system is also inhibited. The feelings of guilt, anger, hate or resentment are capable of causing various complex diseases.
King David supports this idea by saying, «When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long . . .my vitality was turned into the drought of summer.» However, he offers a powerful cure to solve this situation: open your heart to God and show Him your pain.
Do you have unconfessed sins? Do you keep hidden secrets which need to come to light? Do not wait for your body to express symptoms of your repressed emotions. Even if you do not have to constantly talk about them, make sure you bring them all to God to find relief.