Emotional Baggage – Once bruised, emotions become tender and sensitive. We walk through life picking up emotional ‘bruisings’ – a scratch here, a chip there, and maybe a crack or two. You have said, ‘You hurt my feelings.’ Words and actions by others frequently bruise your emotions. However, sometimes the words and actions of others are like hammers literally smashing your emotions. Then emotions are like pointed and jagged sharp edges piercing and cutting your soul. Has anyone ever said to you, ‘You are emotional?’ For some sick reason, we internalize those emotional times. It hurts every time we think about the event. We handle the emotional scratches and chips okay, but smashed emotions can be devastating to your life.
BAGGAGE – EVERYBODY HAS SOME
by Delbert Young
Scriptures: 2 Samuel 18:33; Psalm 34:18-19; Luke 4:18-19; Psalms 94:12; 1 Samuel 17:28; Luke 10:40; John 4:17-18; Luke 23:34
Welcome to our fifth and final lesson in the series called BAGGAGE: EVERYBODY HAS SOME. Today we will be talking about EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE. All of us have emotional baggage because all of us have emotions. God gave us emotions. Emotions enable us to enjoy life. Can you imagine life without emotions – without laughing, crying, joy, anger, love, hate, etc? Without emotions, we would be emotionless zombies.
Emotions are like mirrors. They reflect our perspective of life – what we like, what we hate, etc. They also reflect the events that happen to us in life. They are normally strong and tough, that is, until they become injured or bruised. Once bruised, emotions become tender and sensitive. We walk through life picking up emotional “bruisings” – a scratch here, a chip there, and maybe a crack or two. You have said, “You hurt my feelings.” Words and actions by others frequently bruise your emotions. However, sometimes the words and actions of others are like hammers that literally smash your emotions. Then emotions are like pointed and jagged sharp edges piercing and cutting your soul. Has anyone ever said to you, “You are emotional?” For some sick reason, we internalize those emotional times. It hurts every time we think about the event. We handle the emotional scratches and chips okay, but smashed emotions can be devastating to your life.
Smashed emotions paralyze you. The problem with holding on to the memory of smashed emotions of the past is it destroys the power of your present. You wall up. No one, not even God, gets in and you can’t get out. What do you do? It happened. It smashed you. You cannot “unsmash” or “unhappen” it.
What negative smashed emotional experience(s) have you internalized? What internalized emotional smashing is destroying the power of your present? Perhaps it was a horrible childhood experience with a parent or relative. Perhaps it was a relationship that went bad. Perhaps it was a failed marriage or betrayal. Perhaps it was a confrontation with someone. Perhaps it was a rejection by someone for whom you cared, or a rejection from employment. Perhaps it was miscarrying a baby. Today, we want to study the word of God together and see if there is anything we can do about EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE. You have too much good life to live to allow emotional, negative, internalization to wall you up and stop your present.
There is a person in the scriptures that experienced smashed emotions time after time. Yet, he never allowed those experiences to stop the power of his present. He went on to fulfill his life. That person was King David. As a young boy, his brothers belittled him. He experienced the baggage of rejection to the extent that a man he greatly respected threw spears at him two times. Rejected, David ran for his life. His blood covenant, best friend died at war. His first wife left him. David sinned in adultery and sinned in having that woman’s husband killed. Sin will cause tremendous emotional baggage. David had a baby die just after its birth. One of David’s sons raped his own sister, David’s daughter. A different son, Absalom, had that son killed. Then Absalom, attempted to coup/overthrow David’s, his father’s, kingdom. Next, one of David’s commanders killed that son. We get a glimpse of how that one event smashed David emotionally.
2 Samuel 18:33 The king was OVERCOME WITH EMOTION. He went up to his room over the gateway and burst into tears. And as he went, he cried, “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I could have died instead of you! O Absalom, my son, my son.”
It was a shattered mirror in David’s soul. People told David to “get over” it, but was he supposed to? How can you “get over” the death of a child. How do you get over your baby dying? How can you “get over” the death of your best friend? How can you “get over” the rape of your daughter? How can you disregard that thing or those things that smashed you? Are you supposed to? Is that what God wants? Let’s look at how we are to handle emotional baggage.
(1) POSITION YOURSELF SO THE LORD CAN GET CLOSE TO YOU. David learned that there was a special closeness he experienced in crushing EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE and was able to give his emotional baggage to the Lord and receive healing, help, and deliverance. David wrote…
Psalm 34:18-19 The LORD is CLOSE to the BROKENHEARTED and saves those who are CRUSHED IN SPIRIT. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all
The Lord will heal you from ALL EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE. I know that we are to get close to the Lord, but in brokenhearted moments, the Lord desires to get CLOSE to us. How many have gone through an emotional smashing where nothing anyone said or did helped, however, there was a presence of the Lord that comforted you? It was as if the Lord had his arms around you. It is sad to see people go through “EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE” times and do the opposite. They stop coming to church, stop praying, stop praising, get distant from the body of Christ etc. They miss their healing. I remember when my wife’s mother unexpectedly died on a Saturday morning. Judy was devastated and broken to pieces, but do you know where she was Sunday morning? Church, and I was not a pastor then. She put herself in a place where the Lord could get CLOSE to her. Jesus said…
Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to HEAL THE BROKENHEARTED…
We are not to “forget” or “disregard” those brokenhearted times. Instead, we allow the Lord to get close and let him heal us through his body, his word, his praise, etc. God never tells you to “forget” your emotional smashing. How do you forget the death of your mother? Rather, first, allow the Lord to get CLOSE and heal you.
(2) REALIZE EMOTIONS ARE ONE OF GOD’S GREATEST TEACHERS. When you enjoy a thing, your emotions express that enjoyment. You desire to experience the thing emotionally again. When an experience smashes your emotions, you avoid that experience happening again. You learned from it. You learned discipline.
Psalms 94:12 Blessed is the man you discipline, O LORD, the man you teach from your law
Many times an emotional smashing will teach us the greatest truths and disciplines of life. Let’s look at three specific situations we have all experienced that brought EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE. From these we must learn and discipline ourselves to avoid smashing experiences.
(1) “You don’t fit in.” “You don’t belong here.” “You’re not one of us.” At some place in life, you experienced something where people told you that you did not fit. It could be with a group of people in which you desired to be a part. It could have been a job, or position you desired. “YOU DON’T FIT IN” EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE WILL CAUSE YOU TO BECOME A “CONFORMER.” You conform so those to whom you want to “fit” will accept you. One way that David overcame his emotional smashing was to be a nonconformist.
1 Samuel 17:28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.” “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” HE THEN TURNED AWAY TO SOMEONE ELSE…
David did not conform to his brother’s ways. He did not bank his worth on the acceptance of others. Had David conformed, he would have never experienced what God planned for him – his defeating Goliath- which was the event pointing David to success. Most people conform. Most people miss their destiny. We learn conformity at a young age. I remember in school how I did not fit because my parents could not afford name brand clothes for me, so I never fit. I think we can all relate to not fitting in dress. So, let me go deeper.
For some of you, especially girls/women, to you acceptance was moral conformity. You gave away your virginity. You wanted to be accepted (didn’t want the “breakup” embarrassment) and “everybody else is doing it,” so… Of course, now many of you are women with daughters of your own. You now pray that emotional smashing will not happen to them. Yet, you teach them to conform.
Perhaps your conformity was alcohol or drugs all in the name of acceptance. My “friends” are drinking so… I remember my “friends” who said, “Let’s get some beer.” To be accepted, I went along. We adults incur incredible debt to become accepted. We purchase cars and houses. We buy things we do not need with money we do not have to impress people we do not like so we will be accepted. Incredible debt will cause incredible emotional baggage. How many will be honest enough to say at some point in your life you conformed to be accepted? Learn from it. Allow it to teach you a great life lesson.
(2) “You are not good enough.” “You do not measure up.” “You do not have what it takes.” “YOU ARENOT GOOD ENOUGH” EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE WILL CAUSE YOU TO BECOME A “PERFORMER.” You perform so people will love and approve you.
Luke 10:40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
Martha wanted to make an impression on Jesus. So, to her, she needed to perform. Everything must be just right. Maybe if she performed just right, Jesus would accept her.
We teach our children to perform early. We teach them to perform in making good grades for their parents rather than to make good grades because they are learning. We teach them to perform in sports. We teach them to go through life performing.
With me, it was preaching. In my early years, I was like Martha. I thought if I could perform well enough, people would like me and attend church here. Today, performance oriented church stuff upsets me be it preaching, singing, etc. I have learned that if I have to perform to get you here, I have to perform to keep you here.
How many of you would be honest and say that there have been times in your life when you felt you had to perform to be accepted and loved? Allow it to be a life lesson for you and avoid that EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE.
(3) “You are not worthy.” “You are not worthy of my love.” “You are not worthy of my acceptance.” Some little voice inside your head tells you that you are not worth being loved. WHEN YOU EXPERIENCE “YOU ARE NOT W0RTHY” EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE, YOU BECOME A “CLINGER.”
John 4:17-18 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
Jesus had a long dialogue with a woman at a well. She was obviously trying to find worth. Her self-worth was shattered. She was trying to find validation. Finally, she did – in Jesus. Many women and men do exactly what that woman did. The emotional baggage of self-worth caused them to cling to people, which set them up for more EMOTIONAL WORTH BAGGAGE. Children experience this from abusive parents. Teens experience this when dating. It is baggage people carry the rest of their lives unless healed. I remember in high school when this little girl broke up with me. I felt so “worthless.” I can’t even remember her name, but I remember the “worthless” feeling I experienced. I have learned to let the Lord close. He will heal me. I also learned that little girl had nothing to do with my worth!
How many would be honest and say that at some point in your life, you picked up some “not worthy” emotional baggage and have done some “clinging”? Allow it to teach you and discipline you.
(1) POSITION YOURSELF SO THE LORD CAN GET CLOSE TO YOU. (2) REALIZE EMOTIONS ARE ONE OF GOD’S GREATEST TEACHERS. (3) FORGIVE YOUR OFFENDER. Some of the EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE experiences you encounter are because you did something to cause it (David and Bathsheba), but most of the crushing experiences are because someone offended you. One of the ways Jesus heals your “brokenhearted” times is by teaching you to forgive your offenders. Jesus told the story of a man who refused to forgive. The results were the unforgiving man was thrown into prison and tormented (Mat 18). The lesson is you are the one tormented when you do not forgive.
Once I experienced one of the most devastating emotional times of my life. I was so bitter that every time I thought about the experience, I gritted my teeth and clinched my fist in anger. It was a humiliating time. It physically affected me. I was in prison and I refused to forgive. I knew I should, but I refused. It was a broken mirror grinding around in my soul. It hurt to think about it. Finally, one day, I said in prayer, “Lord, I forgive them. Bless them.” That day, the shattered glass in my soul began to change. I learned a very important life lesson from that experience. The Lord took the shattered mirror and made a mosaic of it. I will never “get over” that experience, but it stopped hurting. I am able to use it as a mosaic picture for others. “But Delbert, you don’t know what they did to me.” Think about Jesus, hanging on the cross, emotionally smashed in every area saying…
Luke 23:34 …Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.
What a beautiful mosaic God made of that. You must forgive your offender to move on into what God has for you. If you refuse, you put your own self in the prison of EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE. Do not allow that person(s) hammer to stop the power of your present.
We will all experience emotional baggage because we all have emotions. We all experience crushing times. I first want to pray with you Christ followers. If you have EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE today (we all have some), (1) Position yourself so the Lord can get close to you. He will begin a healing and delivering process. You are not to forget or discard the crushing time. You are to (2) Learn disciplines of life from them. (3) Forgive your offender(s). Do not allow EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE to stop the power of your present.
For you who are not a Christ Follower or have gotten away from the Lord’s presence, you will never experience the best life you can have until you receive the work Jesus did for you on the cross. He died so you can be healed of your broken heart. I want you to raise your hands right now saying you want the Lord to get close to you, begin a healing process, and experience freedom for the first time in a long time.
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