This past week my husband and I flew into Seattle for a conference. Before we left, he brought down our “usual” luggage, which includes a very large bag for me and a small carry-on for him. How do guys do it?? I’ll never understand.
I put all my usual toiletries in along with some cute shoes and a few pieces of winter clothing to warm my Southern blood in the cool North west.
Off to the airport we went. I was able to quickly check my bag with the airline and fly basically “hands free”.
But life isn’t much like that, is it? We tend to carry our “bags” on our face, in our heart and ultimately in our love for others. The bags of this life come with us wherever we go and while we’d like to wish they could be checked at the door, it just isn’t the case.
The more and more time I’ve spent listening to other people’s stories, the more committed I am to helping them unpack their “bags”. It’s where healing begins. Each moment that is worked through unearth’s a better understanding of who we are and why we do what we do. If we don’t ever “unpack our bags”, I believe we miss out on much of what God would like to teach us and His great plan for our lives.
We belong to a church where people come in with their bags and we’re ok with it. Abuse, alcoholism, unforgiveness, divorce, overachieving, abortions, judgementalism, and other pains of some sort have weighed each of us down at times. Sometimes, people practically stumble through the door trying to carry all their bags, but then there seems to be someone else at the door who smiles and lends a hand, because they’ve been there too.
It might sound funny to you to think that you’d walk through the doors of a church to meet understanding people. I’ve been in plenty of churches where unfortunately that was not the case. Judgement met you at the door and Unforgiveness closed it behind you. That’s sad and entirely unbiblical.
I believe the only reason why there are people who are able to open their arms and love is because the Lord has done the same for them. They’ve met His Son, Jesus and heard how he touched the broken and burdened and then he did the same for them. They’ve received the comfort and grace of the Holy Spirit, who has been deposited into their very being when they called on the Lord for salvation. They understand that being more like Jesus is a process and takes time.
Because they trust Him, the One who has changed their lives, they begin to release judgement and unforgiveness. It’s never done perfectly. On this side of eternity, I’m not sure that it can be. But, they are willing to try.
Bags don’t need to be checked at the door when a people trust in a powerful God; a God that doesn’t waste an ounce of your life or life experiences that He’ll ultimately use for His own glory.
We’re committed to speaking the truth in love and bearing one another’s burdens. We’re committed to seeing the truth win and God be glorified.
So let me invite you back to church, friend. You don’t even have to try to “pack light”.
This video by Dr.Billy Graham is powerful. I invite you to watch: http://myhopewithbillygraham.org/programs/the-cross/