Who Is Sick?

Someone who is sick is in evil. (Secrets of Heaven 4958)

The Writings often speak of the correspondence between sickness and evil. I don’t believe the intention is that we condemn people who are sick for letting their evil sicken them. Rather, I believe we should regard people who are in evil in much the same way we would regard someone who is sick, reacting not with a vengeful desire to condemn them for their evil, but with a compassionate desire to remove the evil from their lives and mitigate the harm that it causes.

Alas, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a brood of evildoers children who are corrupters! …The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up, or soothed with ointment. …Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. (Isaiah 4-6, 16-17)

The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2)

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. (Matthew 4:23-24)

They brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” (Matthew 9:2)

The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed. (Psalm 41:3)

Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Mark 2:17)

If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him. (Luke 17:3-4)

Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. (Matthew 18:15)

So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. (Luke 10:34)

The reason why sickness means evil is that in the internal sense the kinds of things that attack spiritual life are meant. The sicknesses which attack it are evils, and they are called evil desires and cravings; and the components of spiritual life are faith and charity. That life is sick when falsity exists instead of the truth of faith and evil instead of the good of charity, because they lead to the death of that life, which is called spiritual death and is damnation, just as sicknesses lead to the death of natural life. This is why in the internal sense ‘sickness’ means evil…. All the sicknesses mentioned here mean spiritual sicknesses, which are evils destructive of the life of a will desiring what is good and falsities destructive of the life of an understanding seeing what is true, in short things destructive of spiritual life composed of faith and charity. Natural sicknesses also correspond to such things, for every sickness present among the human race has its origin in spiritual ones, because each exists as a result of sin, 5712, 5726. Each sickness furthermore corresponds to its own evil. The explanation for this is that everything composing a person’s life originates in the spiritual world. If therefore his spiritual life is sick, evil spreads from it into his natural life and becomes a sickness there…. Since sicknesses represented the unrighteous ways and the evils of spiritual life the sicknesses which the Lord healed have as their meaning deliverance from the different kinds of evil and falsity that were molesting the Church and human race and that would have brought spiritual death. Divine miracles are distinguishable from other miracles by the fact that they involve and have regard to states of the Church and the heavenly kingdom; and this is why the Lord’s miracles were primarily healing of sicknesses. These miracles are meant by the Lord’s words addressed to the disciples sent by John, Tell John the things which you hear and see: the blind see and the lame walk; lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead rise again and the poor hear the gospel. (Matthew 11:4, 5. This is why it says so many times that the Lord healed every sickness and every disease among the people, Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 14:14, 35, 36; Luke 4:40; 5:15; 6:17; 7:21; Mark 1:32-34; 3:10. (Secrets of Heaven 8364.2-3, 6)

All diseases in man have correspondence with the spiritual world; for whatever in universal nature has not correspondence with the spiritual world cannot exist, having no cause from which to exist, consequently from which to subsist….All this has been stated so that people may know that even sicknesses have a correspondence with the spiritual world. They do not have a correspondence with heaven, which is the Grand Man, but with those in a contrary place, thus with those in hell…. The reason sicknesses have a correspondence with those in hell is that sicknesses correspond to the evil desires and cravings of the lower mind, and these desires and cravings are the origins of those sicknesses, the origins of sicknesses in general being various kinds of intemperance and self-gratification, wholly physical pleasures, as well as feelings of envy, hatred, revenge, lust, and the like, which destroy a person’s interiors. Once these are destroyed his exteriors suffer and subject him to sickness and so to death. The fact that human death is the result of evils or due to sin is well known in the Church; so too are sicknesses, for these are bringers of death. From all this it may be seen that sicknesses too have a correspondence with the spiritual world, with the forms of uncleanness there; for essentially sicknesses are forms of uncleanness. As stated above, they have their origin in uncleanness. (Secrets of Heaven 5711-12)