Friday, February 26, 2016

Everybody Has Baggage

The other day while in the Minneapolis airport, it dawned on me that every individual in the great throng of people around me had one thing in common; they all carried baggage.

It was true for all of them:  young and old, rich and poor, every race and class.  Some bags were extra heavy and awkward to carry.  Some were lightweight suitcases with wheels.  Some were backpacks.  But everybody had a bag.

And I thought, "That's the way it is in all of life.  Everybody you meet has baggage."

Some folks appear to be like Mary Poppins:  practically perfect in every way.  However, it just means their baggage isn't so obvious.  It's still there.   If you think you don't have baggage, ask your family or co-workers.  They will set you straight.

The problem is that our problem is not just our problem.  It directly impacts all the people around us -- whether we realize it or not.  "If we do not transform our pain," said Richard Rohr, "we will transmit it."

Everybody has issues:  some just get in life's way more than others.  There are obvious issues that wreak havoc in families such as alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling and acting out sexually.

But there are other not-so-obvious issues such as basing one's worth on performance, being a people pleaser, depression and internalized stress.

On the surface, the presenting issues seem very different -- but underneath the surface, we discover it's all the same stuff:  our real issues are primarily spiritual, emotional and relational.

A man who has a drinking problem needs to look deeper than the drinking,  to the underlying causes -- and so does the perfectionist.

This means that we should never label those who struggle as "those people."  We are all "those people" in need of Christ's healing grace.

The good news is that we don't have to fix ourselves.  Our job is to admit our need and turn to the One greater than ourselves for hope and healing.  The answer to all life's hurts is deeply spiritual.  We can find true freedom as we embrace God and His love for us.  As Jesus said, "If the Son set you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36).

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