Baggage Checked



Some call it ‘baggage’, others refer Picture1to ‘the dark years of my life’, but no matter what you call it, we all have times from the past that we wish could have played out differently. Sometimes in therapy I have to delve into some of those issues due to the consequences played out in the present situation. And in this life no one comes out unscathed, as the New Living Translation of scriptures tell us, in Galatians 6:7, “Don’t be misled–you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.”       This leads many to have deep regret about decisions made by themselves or someone else who planted a bad crop. In fact, some of these people want to annihilate any memories of the past, as if they never existed at all. And although I don’t advocate camping indefinitely on past mistakes yours or theirs, I think these folks are missing an opportunity. Let me explain.

It was at the tender age of 17 when a boy named Joseph was sold into slavery by his own family. Then this same boy rose to great status in another country only to be thrown into prison by a scorned woman who lied about him. After two years, a miracle set him on another course for greatness. He rose to power and saved the nation from starvation. Now if you think we arrived at the ‘and he lived happily ever after part’ you’d be wrong. Enter the brothers who betrayed him and you have the setting for a confrontation that would be great TV viewing for a reality show smack down.

But then this situation is turned on its head, basically by Joseph’s response. You see Joseph had developed more during his time away from home than fame and wealth, he developed perspective. Did his family betray him? Yes. Did they deserve punishment? Yes. Did Joseph use his new found power to pummel them? No. Rather Joseph’s perspective of the past had been washed with the reality of the present, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (NAS)

You see the pains of our past whether inflicted upon us or brought about by our own disobedience are markers in life. If we confess our sins or acknowledge the sins of others, we turn a corner. Now instead of wasted rubbish, these past events are offered up to God, as things He will use for his purpose and for his glory. When we read in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” The world loses and God wins. It is a testimony of the power of a loving God, one who can take past hurts and alter the course of your world and the world of others. It’s what makes us look back and say, “Look what God has done, isn’t he amazing?” And that is something we definitely don’t want to forget.

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