In the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) is gifted with a huge suitcase from Mr. Gower so George can travel and “see the world.” Like George, whenever you or I take a trip we pack our clothes and toiletries in suitcases. When we return from our trip our suitcases are full of dirty laundry which must then be washed. Whether you call them suitcases or baggage, we all have them and use them whenever we go somewhere for more than a night.
There’s another use of the term baggage when applied to relationships. When two people marry they bring their emotional baggage with them into the relationship. Emotional baggage comes from our past, i.e things experienced in our families-of-origin and self-protective behaviors we have learned. Through wounds from our past we have learned to defend ourselves by lashing out in anger, by withdrawing, using sarcasm, or by diverting the conversation onto a safer, less threatening topic. These are destructive ways of defending ourselves and will ultimately poison a relationship.
How should we deal with our baggage? First, unpack the bags and empty them of all the dirty laundry. With your emotional baggage this involves praying and asking the Lord to reveal the issues with which you need to deal.
Second, once He shows you the dirty laundry, own it. Accept that you have personal work to do on yourself. No more denying or defending it.
Third, confess your dirty laundry as sin and ask the Lord to forgive you and cleanse you. All physically dirty laundry has to be washed in detergent. So too must emotionally dirty laundry. The blood of Jesus can wash that laundry and make it whiter than snow (cf. Psalm 51:1-10).
Finally, hang them up. You hang up your clean laundry in your clothes closet and you close the closet door on them. With cleansed emotional laundry you must put them behind you in the closet of your memories. They’ve been confessed and cleansed. Over time, the Lord will gently heal those wounds of the past and turn them into pain-free scars on your soul.
After all, He is Jehovah Rapha, the God who Heals,