In those early years when we were young, "back then" and as we tell the stories from those days we shake our heads at how we were wonderfully clueless.As we went from church to church we didn't realize how life's stuff has a way of piling up on you. You just don't see it when you're young in love with life and serving the Lord. By the time you flip a few years on the calendar, you can look back on choices you wish you had made differently and situations you hoped would have turned out better. All of a sudden a few years, then a few decades have gone by, and stuff has really started to pile up.
In every move from one city to another, we had to get rid of a lot of stuff and left behind some nice stuff, that we have regretted. We have left behind friends, family, and dishes, and old rubber ducks.
Then we move again and get more stuff and have to start storing them in your father-in-laws barn or in a church office, or in a brother in laws building. Or we store them in some drawer in the house. Then we have to put the stuff in the basement.
Then a few more years pass and you are now in need of a serious garage sale. Now there are two kinds of stuff you need to have a garage sale, here I am not talking about dumping old lamps, baby clothes, baseball cards, and Wheatie boxes and old cars, (which would not be a bad idea) but another dumping needs to happen. Let me explained:
When you are in the Lord's army, and you are marching toward Mt. Zion, you take a lot of hits. Life is moving so fast, that you don't have time to deal with all the hurts, disappointments, failures, unresolved conflicts. You just put them in a drawer as it were. And every time you move to another place, you pack up all that crud and put it in box and store them somewhere in the attic or basement. and you leave them there for sixteen years.
Then you move again and move the old crud from the attic. Life moves so fast, its easy to just stick unresolved conflict and hurts in a drawer. Over the last few years more hurts and conflict fill up the spots on a shelf somewhere
Now you need to get rid of all the harbored hurts of times when people disappointed you, all the rejections you've stuffed away, and all the situations that unfolded the way you hoped they never would. And now you find your self in need to move again.And unless we deal with these burdens God's way, no matter where you go to get away from it, you're drag your carryon baggage with you.
Yesterday Charity was listening to James McDonald on the car radio as she was going to see her mother, James was reading from Psalms 34, and Charity heard him read from verses18
"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."
This morning she was telling me what she had heard. And Charity felt that was how I was this morning brokenhearted and crushed in spirit. And once again we find our selves with hurt feelings, rejections, and wished we had not made decisions, and things have just not turned out the way we would wished they had. And our spirit is crushed and we are brokenhearted. And the drawers are full.
Yesterday morning before Charity got out of bed, I was downstairs cleaning out the drawers, and pilled up all the old bills, receipts and church papers, and stuff like old cell phones, and keys that don't work for years and put them in the trash. Hummm!
God has not make us with the capacity to carry forward all that negative weight from our past. He doesn't expect you to. He gives us His ability to forgive in order to free us from the hurt of relational failure. I know that, I have taught that.
Colossians 3:13 "bear with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgive each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive."
The older I get, the more I realize that if you want the kind of life that God promises you, you must become an expert at forgiveness. You need to be the best person in your family at forgiveness the best person at your church and work, the best person on your street at this all important biblical, necessary, required skill.
James McDonald said I've said it for years, "There are no enduring relationships without forgiveness." Is there someone who you need to forgive? My guess is that the Lord is bringing their face to your mind right now. Ask Him to begin His work of mercy and grace in your heart. The last thing you need in 2008 is yesterday's baggage.
Charles E. Whisnant - December 18th 2007
Please pray for Charity and I as we seek again a place of ministry, and that we have a good garage sale.