We are well accustomed to speaking about bodily diseases. Conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and many others are regular topics of everyday conversation. The same cannot be said about ailments of the soul.
With the removal of sin as an acceptable explanation for the human condition, there has been a corresponding loss of recognition of the various maladies that afflict the soul. As a result, we have a harder time identifying what ails so many people and what can be done to help them.
Through history “soul sickness” has been understood to be a reality that affects people in every era. It’s been regarded as part of the human condition, and traced to what theologians call “original sin.” Postmodern society is no exception.
One of the best known catalogs of the soul’s most common sicknesses is the one compiled by Gregory the Great. It’s known as the “seven deadly sins.” The conditions that Gregory noted include pride, covetousness, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, and sloth. While there is no specific Bible passage that directly speaks to all of these problems in one place, they are addressed in passages like Proverbs 6:16-19 and Galatians 5:19-21, among others.
It is not hard to see that though these conditions of the soul are little discussed, they lie at the root of much human misery today. Everyone can identify with these problems and will likely find himself especially vulnerable to a few of them. Recovering an awareness of the sicknesses that afflict the soul (starting with those identified by Gregory) would go a long way to restore countless lives. And as lives are restored, it would also improve the state of families and society as a whole.
In the Bible we find God’s prescriptions for the soul’s ailments. Here you will see activities such as confession, prayer, praise and service among His ordained means to bring healing to the soul. When these means are combined with faith in the Great Physician, Jesus Christ, they are found to be effective beyond anything else this world can offer.