Baggage Check

"He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds." Psalm 147:3

If you've done any flying over the last decade and a half, you know that once you've checked your baggage in, someone will be going through it to make sure there's nothing there that may cause harm. I don't think most of us like that someone else has access to things we consider personal and private. We'd rather keep the contents of our baggage to ourselves. If this is so with our material baggage, how much more is it so concerning our emotional and spiritual?
Some years ago, a brother who had just entered into a new relationship told me that the lady he was seeing had told him that she had no baggage to bring into it. I told him, as diplomatically as I could, that this couldn't be true, and it wasn't long before she proved me right. We live in a fallen world, and its effects on us will leave its marks. We all of us bear the wounds of our baggage, and there is only one real answer for all of them; Jesus Christ the Healer. Our problem is that, like we are with airport security, we want to keep the contents of our baggage to ourselves. We don't want anyone knowing just what is "in there." In our hearts, and especially in our minds. In truth, like the the brother's friend, we don't really want to know about it ourselves. So we go on carrying what we believe is hidden baggage into our relationships, and on every level of those relationships. The result is that our unopened baggage collides again and again with others unopened baggage. The results are not pretty, yet we never seem to see the root problem; us. So we go on, always thinking this time it will be different. But it never is. And sadly, we never learn.
The proof of this goes beyond our man-woman relationships. It is certainly seen in the secular workplace, but in no place might it be seen more clearly than in the Church. Our baggage shows in our relations with each other. Not just within members of the congregation, but in the relationship between pastor and people as well, and you can trust my personal knowledge of this. Pastors can carry a great deal of baggage as well. So out of our many "pieces of luggage" can come issues with gender, authority, leadership style, and maybe the greatest of all, that which has happened to people in their past, especially what may have happened in the church. Many in the congregation may walk in a spirit of rebellion against authority. Pastors who have suffered from such may walk in a spirit of control and dominance as a defense against suffering through that again. And the more we try to hide our baggage, the more it keeps getting put on display. The result is a dysfunctional people, led by dysfunctional pastors, producing a dysfunctional church. And through it all stands Christ, calling us to come to Him, and check our baggage. All the wounds, the hurts, the disappointments and failures, all placed into His hands....and finding healing. Our brokenness made whole by His grace. That which is destroying us, and so often, those around us too.
At the airport, along with the process of the baggage check, is the baggage claim. Neither is enjoyable, but for you and I to be free of those emotional and spiritual items that we carry with us, we have to undergo both. We not only need to submit all of it to Him, we need to be honest about their existence in our hearts and minds. We need to "claim" them. When we do this, we give Him free access to bring His healing, cleansing hand upon it all. What is in there, no matter how neat we have tried to make it appear, or how well hidden we have sought to have it, has to be consciously admitted and given over to Him. If we will, we discover the truth of His promise, "He that is free in Me, is free indeed." If we don't, all we can expect are continued collisions of our "stuff" with the "stuff" of others.
What lingers in our hearts and minds that needs to be "checked" with Him? What wounds, hurts, failures and disappointments do we at last need to lay claim to? Where, like the lady above, are we deceiving ourselves about it all, denying that at root, as it concerns us, it's our baggage that's the real problem? Haven't we left it all unchecked for long enough? Let us bring it all to the One who heals, who binds up, and who makes whole. It's time, past time, to check our baggage. All of our baggage.

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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