Baggage Claim

Everyone loves a story about lost luggage and air travel. After returning from my recent Alaska mission trip, every member of my team had claimed his or her baggage except me. Mine – a distinctive large brown one with a neon orange laminated tag – was nowhere to be seen.

Having just disembarked from my third flight, I had been traveling for about 20 hours at that point and was in no mood for complications. Marching purposefully over to an office in the corner of Baggage Claim, I handed the lady behind the desk my baggage claim check. She looked up a minute later to say, “It arrived hours ago.” (At this point, I must admit to a little jealousy. If only I had been on the same plane.)

She then led me outside to an endless row of unclaimed suitcases and boxes. In the middle of the row was mine, fully intact. Though I inwardly fumed that it would be left out for just about anyone to take, no one did.

The reality of my day-to-day life is that no one wants my baggage. Though I am not the person I was before Christ, I still carry some of the baggage from my past life. It’s tattered and scarred, and I honestly wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” – Romans 7:15

“If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” – 1 John 1:10

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” – 1 Timothy 1:15

I can be quick to anger, quick to speak and slow to listen. I can be untrusting and unforgiving. (See James 1:19.) I can be all manner of things for which my Lord died. And things get really interesting at the intersection of your sin and mine. 

You become peevish. I become insulted. You become impatient. I become accusatory. You become angry. I become insulting. You become hurt. I become convinced of my righteous indignation. And so it continues.

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? ” – James 4:1

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” – Psalm 141:3

And then there’s the emotional baggage, the product of years of imprinting that I long to forget. The fear of abandonment, the certainty of love lost, the whispers of worthlessness all echo in the dark recesses of my mind. They’re just a memory, I tell myself. 

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5

What a comfort it is to know that His mercies are made new every morning. Great is His faithfulness! And what a comfort to know that I will someday be as He is, but that He sees me now – even in those terrible moments – without spot or blemish because I am washed clean in the blood of Christ.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

“. . . being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6

Jesus came to claim your baggage on your behalf. You’ll find the receipt covered in blood at the foot of the cross. It reads, “Tetelestai”:  “Paid in full.”