Summary: The greatest healing in the world is to be forgiven, and the greatest healing you can give is the medicine of forgiveness.
Language can be lethal. Dr. Bernard Lown, professor of Cardiology at Harvard, tells of how he
learned this, very dramatically. He had a middle age woman as a patient, who had a narrowing of
the tricuspid valve on her heart. She had this problem for a decade, but one day a Dr. Levin was
leading a group of visiting physicians through the clinic, and when he came to the particular patient
he turned to the doctors and said, "This woman has TS." As soon as they left the room, the woman
began to hyperventilate, and her pulse accelerated to 150. Her lungs began to take on fluid also, and
Dr. Lown asked her what was going on. She said, "Dr. Levin said I have TS, which means terminal
He was amused at her misinterpretation, and informed her that it meant tricuspid stenosis. But
she didn't buy it. She got worse, and nothing they could do would reverse the congestion, and later
that day she died of heart failure. She was no worse that day than she had been in a decade, but she
died because she heard a death sentence in a doctors use of two words. It is a rather trivial reason to
die, but since our bodies believe what the mind tells them, faith in a false idea can have deadly
There is, however, a positive side to the power of the spoken word. It can also lead to amazing
healings. Dr. Lown has marvelous examples of this also. He had a heart patient who was at the end
of his rope. They had exhausted all their means to help him survive. On his morning rounds of
what should have been this mans last day, he commented to his staff around the mans bed that he
had a wholesome, very loud third-sound gallop. This was a poor sign, for it meant the heart was
under a great strain, and was failing. But to the surprise of all, this man suddenly took a turn for the
better. He made such a marvelous recovery that he went home.
When he came back to the doctors office for a check-up, Dr. Lown asked him why he thought he
made such a recovery. He said ,"Doctor, I not only know what got me better, but even the exact
moment it happened. I was sure the end was near, and that you and your staff had given up hope.
However, Thursday morning when you entered with your troops something happened that changed
everything. You listened to my heart....and announced to all those standing around my bed that I
had a wholesome gallop....I figured I still had a lot of kick to my heart, and could not be dying. My
spirits were for the first time lifted, and I knew I would live and recover."
Fortunate for him, he did not understand what the doctor meant, for it probably would have led to
his death that day. His misunderstanding saved his life, because it gave him renewed hope. Words
can kill or make alive, and all of us have this potent potential at all times. The snake has his venom,
and we have our vocabulary, and both are capable of giving or taking life. The world is a sicker or
healthier place everyday, just because of the things we say.
This is the truth so relevant as look again at the Great Physician at work. Jesus did not write out
prescriptions, He spoke them. His very words were the medicines that people needed to get well.
The wonder drug of words was his specialty, and no where do we see a more potent dosage than we
see Him using on this young paralytic. In verse 5 Jesus said, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
The Greek word for son here is teknon. This is not the usual word for son in the New Testament.
This is a much rarer word, for it is an endearing word. It is the word Paul used in calling Timothy
his beloved son. It is used only a few times in the Gospels, and Jesus uses it for this pathetic
paralytic. Not only does Jesus address him with this loving term, He unconditionally says to him,
"Your sins are forgiven." If this is not spiritual penicillin to a sin sick soul, there is no such thing.
This was the verbal antic-biotic that set the sick sinner free. Just as Jesus spoke the word and the sea
was calm, and just as He spoke the word and the demons fled, so here he spoke the words of
comfort, love, and hope, and brought healing to a paralyzed body. Jesus had a bed side manner that
was excellent, for there are no better healers than those who make it clear to the patient that they are