I like a good comic.  I used to read all kinds, yep I’m sort of a geek.

One of my favorite comics in the paper was Cathy, a single woman in her thirties.

Here is one of my favorites:

She is sitting home alone in her thoughts.

“Things I should have done at work.”  she thinks to herself.

“Things I wish I’d said to Irving, things I promised myself to never do again but I did anyway. Ways I made myself miserable that I could have avoided.”

Her look of despair deepens.

“Things I could have done for my family, my puppy, my friends, my coworkers, my neighbor, my finances, my home, my closets, my diets, and millions of people in need whom I’ve never met.”

In the last frame, Cathy gives a final word to her plight “Even when I’m not going anywhere, I have three hundred pounds of luggage with me.”

It’s time we check our bags.  We all have a list of un-dones and un-saids.  That’s just in our carry-ons!

Sometimes we will put in a secret compartment the stuff we did do and feel horrible about it but would feel even worse if we left it behind.  Then there is a nagging fear someone will find out.

We even have specialized luggage that holds all the stuff done to us, or not done to us.

All this luggage is condemnation. At one time or another we will find ourselves carrying some, big or small.

Condemnation is the weight on a mother’s heart who was rarely home when her kids were babies, now they are grown.  It’s the undercurrent of grief and self torture in the woman that had an abortion 10 years ago. It’s the nagging conscience of the Christian woman that berated the cashier in the check out line. It’s a lingering sense of regret over an outburst of immaturity. It’s the performance pressure a leader feels when the “to do” list goes untouched.

We can carry this weight around for so long we tend to think it’s normal.  The news flash is , apart from the Cross it is normal.  Without Jesus we all deserve to be punished and condemned.

Correcting people without the Cross, without the Redeemer condemns people to an utter life of misery.

Have you ever had someone upset with you and wouldn’t tell you why. No matter what you did or said there was no way to fix it.  They are condemning you, there is nothing you can do.

The other day I was confiding with a friend my hesitations to speak out, or reach out to a group, because I felt to these people I couldn’t do anything right. It seemed whenever I got around them all my faults, my quirks, my failings was under some spiritual microscope. I felt that no matter what I said or didn’t say it was going to be misconstrued  and I was going to be accused of something else.   She said something very simple and very plain “You can’t live under condemnation.  Don’t make decisions based on it.”

She was right. I wasn’t doing what I suppose to be doing because I was more aware of my faults, aptly pointed out by these people,  than I was God’s grace in my life.

That is condemnation.

It’s time to check the bags to Jesus.

Promises of obedience won’t do it.  We can’t fight condemnation by promising to pray more, fast more often, or even memorize Scripture.  Obedience is certainly important.  But it is impossible to resolve yesterday’s failures by doing better tomorrow.

How do we beat condemnation?

Confess to God, then believe in Him.  Exercise the gift of faith that Jesus died for the very things condemning us.  The punishment He received was for you. Your off the hook.  You’ve been forgiven!

Leave the guilt and the condemnation at the Cross.  If we don’t leave this baggage with Jesus what we wind up doing is inflicting it on the people around us.

Get your eyes on Jesus and what He has done.  It’s just like the enemy of your soul to sneak up on you and get you thinking about all the things you’ve done or not done. Worse yet, thinking about all the things the people around you has done or not done.

I believe the lady who washed Jesus feet with tears in front of a room full of religious leaders was not weeping because of condemnation (which will cause you to weep too). I believe she wept because her guilt was gone!

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