I commute to work each morning. I begin by walking to the bus stop and catching a commuter bus that takes me to the Pentagon. From there, I take the subway, transferring once, to a station near where I work. As a commuter, I, of course, encounter a lot of people. I may not talk directly to them, but they affect me just the same.
Many people carry bags with them. Some have the little briefcases or suit cases on wheels that they pull behind them. Some women carry humongous bags that stick way out (this is particularly troublesome when you are trying to cram 8 people into an elevator that really only fits 6). Just this morning, on the bus, a man dropped his bag and it rolled under my bus seat – then it rolled again and hit me in the leg.
This got me to thinking about the spiritual baggage that we carry with us.
How much does our spiritual baggage “stick out” and affect others? What words do we say or thoughts do we have or actions that we do that put our spiritual baggage in a place where it gets into other peoples’ space?
I think of times, early in my walk with God, when I was trying to understand all of the “rules” and learn how to live according to His Word. I encountered people, Christians, people who loved the Lord and wanted to live for Him, who acted contrary to His Word. It confused me.
For instance (and I see this A LOT), the Bible tells us to pray for our enemies (and it didn’t just say it once):
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
Yet, I still encountered people who prayed against their enemies. I did not understand because it was so contrary to what I was reading and learning. They even rejoiced when these enemies fell. It was extremely disturbing and sad to me.
Now that I am more mature, I understand that we are “not of this world” and are to act “not of this world.” Now, I stand much, much stronger in the Word, not the world. Now, it doesn’t confuse me when people are worldly and do things that are contrary to the Bible. Now I know that they are wrong and I know that I must pray for them.
But in those early days their spiritual baggage hindered my walk somewhat. It created confusion (remember, satan is the author of confusion, the creator of chaos) and made me question what I knew in my heart was right.
Is your baggage sticking out? Is it getting into someone else’s space and affecting them?
Are you causing someone to stumble today? To falter? To question God’s Word because your actions, your words, your beliefs are contrary to what the Bible says?
Maybe it is time to do a baggage check.