With the A&E TV show, “Hoarders,” America has become exposed to people who are unable to part with their belongings. These hoarders hold onto absolutely everything in which they become unaware of how their stuff is suffocating their lives. When a hoarder decides to move homes, he or she finally can comprehend how much baggage they have weighing them down.
We do the same things emotionally. We try to move along in our lives, but we have stuff in the back of the U-Haul slowing down the process. Just like hoarders, you have some baggage that you have collected and you have some baggage that you have received. In order to go the next step in your life, you need to address both.
Joseph lived with all types of baggage. As the favored son of Jacob, his prideful stories told to his brothers kept him out of favor with everyone in his family except for his father. His brothers beat him and sold him into slavery. While taking a stance for purity, he was wrongfully accused of rape. After helping others out in jail, he was left and forgotten about to rot in prison.
Joseph had baggage. Some he collected, some he received, but he had to deal with both.
Joseph’s handling of his baggage provides an excellent example for us to follow. When he was in a position to retaliate, he choose to forgive. Speaking to his brothers who had beaten him and sold him into slavery, he responded, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Gen. 50:20).
Joseph knew that the past was past. Even while people had successfully hurt him, that fact could not be changed, but he was wise enough to know that God was powerful enough to bring good out of that evil. Paul stated, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
Even when mistakes have been made by you or to you, God is able to bring about good.
Collected Baggage. Concerning the baggage you have collected, those mistakes you have made, you need to clean up the mess. If you have hurt others in the past, you need to address the situation. Realizing that God can even make good out of your mistakes, go forward praying for reconciliation and redeeming work to be done.
Received Baggage. Concerning the baggage that was dropped off by others, those that have hurt you specifically, you still need to clean up the mess. Forgiving those people in the past will allow you to truly love all people today. Don’t make current relationships pay for the mistakes of people in your past.
No matter who did the evil, we serve a God who can make all things good.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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