Have you heard the word catharsis? Catharsis is the Greek word for purification. It is a cleansing from unnecessary elements. Emotional catharsis is important for a person’s well-being. 

A cathartic moment can be a wake-up call. A cathartic moment can cleanse the soul and be a psychological relief.

Let me tell you of two life experiences which were cathartic moments. The first was Gary’s life experience. He underwent both open heart surgery and quadruple bypass surgery. This man is not a sissy. Every cough is a sledge hammer to his chest. I asked my dear friend Gary, “How difficult was this surgery?” Answer: “It was 100 times more difficult than anything I have experienced.” The purification of heart and veins. Catharsis.

The second was my life experience in 1966 in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 53-degrees-below-zero weather. My wife and I had attended a small group Bible study that met Wednesday evenings. Susie had the flu one Wednesday but insisted I attend for both of us. As I drove to the meeting, I prepared my words to say this Christianity didn’t work for me. My plan was to speak first and quickly depart. Didn’t happen! 

After several amazing life stories, my turn came. I was able to say about five words. Then, to my absolute embarrassment, I broke into tears. I had not shed a tear since my mother’s horrible pancreatic cancer death. When I was finally able to regain composure, something truly wonderful had taken place. All bitterness towards God and people had vanished. This was pure catharsis for me.

Today, in this Word of Hope, there are two powerful takeaways. First, Gary would tell you to guard and protect your physical heart. This means if you are overweight, lose pounds. If you don’t exercise, get busy. If you eat junk food, stop.

Secondly, I would tell you to forgive. This is a get-out-of-jail-free card for bitterness. My oncology nurse once told me: ‘If you want to die in peace, total and complete forgiveness of others and yourself is crucial.”