A lesson for children of God
I fly more than the average person and every now and again my bags get misdirected – or lost. I've learned to pack a change of clothes and toiletries in my carry-on! I've never said, “I’m so glad they lost my baggage”. Today I want to review how our Father has purposely lost our baggage – and given us suitcases full of the best new clothes imaginable. A new look, a new you, clean new garments. We’ll contrast that with what carnal people do – who try to be sure you never get to lose old baggage, and want to bring out your dirty underwear and old junk in old baggage you thought was long gone and display it for all to see.
When it comes to our spiritual lives, I want to lose my old baggage. God offers me that. People don’t – unless they are truly children of God. Do you help people lose their old baggage and allow them a new look in Christ, covered by the righteousness imparted by the Spirit of God as one of God’s gifts? Isn't that what the father of the prodigal son said right away: “Bring out the best robe… put sandals on his feet… let’s celebrate, for my son who was dead has returned!” – Luke 15:20-31. It was the elder, the older brother, who resisted allowing the other to be accepted back into the church and family community. After all, he had some baggage! The elder, the older brother considered the younger one to be a shame to the community and church, unworthy of fellowship. But Yeshua teaches how the loving father was so happy to have him back. That’s why Paul taught in 2 Cor. 2:5-11 that there does come a time to reaffirm, love, encourage and accept one another back into community and into the body of Christ.
Carnal people are fond of digging up dirt on people and then carefully chronicling it. Maybe it makes us feel better to find out someone has done something worse than we have done. Even too many ministers pick up the dirt shovel and exchange data on people. Most of us call it gossip. My Mom used to tell me, “If someone is willing to gossip to you, they’ll be willing to gossip about you.” Beware of what you tell people, even ministers, unless you absolutely know they are not corpse diggers. By “data” I mean sins that have long been repented of, forgiven and buried in the blood of the son of God. Do we really want to be guilty of grave-digging in the blood of our Savior? But boy oh boy, some of those data tidbits are so juicy, so awful, and so nasty – that we all too often let people bring back someone’s old baggage. All of us have our own “old man” buried in Messiah’s blood, and that’s where the “old man” – the old self we were – should stay buried. Some even relish and specialize in the very Satanic and cruel act of chronicling sins of their fellow sinner humans – and then mail it around to all interested readers. We see it every day in the tabloids – and even in places which dare call themselves the “church of God”.
All this simply should not be, brothers and sisters in Christ.People doing these things are simply following their leader, the prince of darkness. They use his tactics, for he is “the Adversary who slanders”. That’s what “Satan the devil” literally means. God’s kids should have no part in this slander and gossip and bringing back old baggage. What’s really sad is when the children of the Highest start to copy the Slanderer’s children. No, God’s children let a person start over. They know “love covers all sins” (1 Pet. 4:8; Prov. 10:12), especially if repented of long ago. God’s kids encourage people to turn and change (James 5:20). God’s kids know we've all sinned. God’s kids know we all need a new start. God’s kids know we have no business calling someone’s sins – “unforgivable”, for our Savior forgave us of ALL sin (1 John 1:9). They know whisperers separate the closest of friends (Prov. 17:9). God’s children want nothing to do with that dark way of living. People who chronicle forgiven sin and spread it around identify themselves as hateful children of the Adversary – at least for a time.
One pastor even called me years ago to urge me to watch the expose on TV that afternoon of a well-known televangelist’s sins, caught in the act on camera. He seemed disappointed when I said I would not watch it. I knew that televangelist must have been dying a thousand deaths to know it was being splashed all over TV. Instead of watching it – and I never did – I prayed for him and his family. I understand what he was going through, for we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. And I've experienced my sins splashed all over too and know how bad it feels.
This is opposite to what our kind Abba wants from his children. He encourages his kids to “keep no record of wrong”, as just one of the descriptions of his kind of love (1 Cor. 13:4-7 Apologetics Study Bible). In fact in verse 6 He teaches us that HIS children find no joy in unrighteousness or in spreading it. God’s children believe in the power of the new creation that we become in Christ.
God’s children are glad to help you lose your baggage. God’s children will not be chronicling sins or spreading it or discussing it, especially if they are forgiven sins from years ago. Those who do those things are not showing the sign of being followers, disciples of Christ: “By THIS shall all men know you are my disciples -- that you love one another as I have loved you”.
“As I have loved you”. How was that? While we were STILL sinners, he forgave us. He asked for that while hanging on his cross. “Father forgive them…”, remember? Those who follow Him do what he does, walk as he walked, and speak as he spoke more and more and more. True children of God love one another. Love covers a multitude of sin. Satan’s way is to unearth it and then buy a professional grade manure spreader to make sure the “good stuff” we unearthed really gets into every nook and cranny out there.