Dealing with Baggage

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Dealing with Baggage is a sermon to help you deal with your “baggage” from the past and to help you quit the sins that are associated with it.  Lots of people have baggage, things in their past that were so scarring they seem to travel with them everywhere they go and influence how they react in almost every future relationship and encounter.  These scars range from divorce of parents, divorce from spouse, or death of a sibling or childhood friend to molestation, abandonment, or addiction [yours or theirs].  These things lead to perversion and habitual sin.

People with these pasts will often get into abusive relationships, drugs, what doctors call psychological disorders and dysfunctions and emotional instability [like depression].  All of these in the Bible are called plainly: SIN.  People who have had to deal with past scars often become perpetrators of the same things against others.  Your life becomes very sinful!

So, how are you supposed to deal with your baggage?

Acknowledgment – People generally get into some kind of sin to deal with the pain of their past.  You have to acknowledge your sin before God.  You won’t when all you can see inside yourself is the scar or when you use the scar to justify your sin.  And you won’t when you blame God for the scar.  Notice these characters in the Bible who are noted for their sin:

  • Mary Magdalene – Mk 16:9 – out of whom Jesus cast 7 devils.
  • The woman at the well – Jn 4:16-18 – she had had 5 husbands and was currently living with a man.
  • Rahab – Jos 2:1 – who had been a harlot.
  • The publican – Lk 18:10-14 – a sinner who asked the Lord for mercy.

While the Bible doesn’t embellish their pasts, it doesn’t hide the fact that these folks had a problem with sin.  The publican said in essence, “I’m a sinner” and the Pharisee said in essence, “I’m a good man.”

You need to acknowledge your sin before God and you have to acknowledge it before God rather than men.  You have to be careful telling this “stuff” to men.  What you reveal will often defile them and they may desire later to use your sin against you.  Furthermore, men have a tendency to imagine things.  Notice how Hollywood developed Mary’s sin into an affair with Jesus.

Amendment – Jer 26:13 – this is true repentance and not just remorse or regret.  This is a change of your ways.  Prov 28:13 starts by saying, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper.”  A man who is trying to hide his sin is covering it.  He is certainly not going to try to amend his ways.  So, Prov 28:13 goes on to say, “but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”  Confession is acknowledgement and forsaking is amendment.

In Jn 8:1-11, Jesus didn’t condemn the woman taken in adultery.  However, he did expect her to change her ways.  He said, “go and sin no more.”  You have to leave your sin alone that you commit to deal with your baggage.  When you find yourself “stuck” in it or “consumed” with it in your mind, you are still sinning.  Some are waiting on deliverance, but that will never come if it hasn’t come already.

It’s at this point that a lot of people with baggage get hung up.  They keep going back to the experiences of the past because in some strange way they find “pleasure” in them or the find “fuel” for their sin.  You must stop going back there.

Acceptance – Eph 1:6 says that we are accepted in the beloved [not in our sin, but in the beloved].  1 Cor 6:9-11 lists some of the more prevalent sins associated with baggage and Paul said, “such WERE some of you.”  They were no longer in their sin and therefore they were no longer identified by their former sins; they were identified as washed, sanctified, justified children of God.

Nothing can change the fact that something bad happened in your past.  But just remember that it is in the past; it doesn’t have to be in the present.  So, don’t keep conjuring it up in your mind and then sinning to deal with the pain.  Today, you are a child of God.  You can say, “I do not accept my sin; I accept my standing “in Christ.””

Therefore, don’t be unduly compassionate with others who are looking for your acceptance in their sin.  They need to amend their ways.  This is an overwhelming problem in the mega church movement.  They want everyone to feel welcome and accepted in their sin.  They’ll never change like that.

Advancement – Phil 3:13-14 – Paul admitted that he had not already apprehended that for which he had been apprehended.  And that’s perfectly all right, just as long as you are “forgetting” the things that are behind and “reaching forth” for the things that are before.  You cannot continue to live your life “butt first.”  You can say, “I am not going to deny that I own that suitcase, but I’m not going to travel with it either! I refuse to be held in bondage to my past or my sin.”

Jesus died to make you free so forget the past and grow and blossom where you are.  Life is not about who you were but who you have become.  Notice, Mary Magdalene is the first person to have seen Jesus alive after his resurrection.  The woman at the well became one of the greatest soul winners in Samaria.  Rahab became the mother of Boaz and the great, great grandmother of David in the line of Christ.  The publican was justified!  And Saul the murderer became Paul the apostle to the Gentiles and the author of 14 books in the New Testament!

Conclusion: You have to deal with your sin before you can ever deal with the baggage.  People try to deal with the baggage first and never get free.  Your sin is the problem and Jesus is the answer!