Unwrapping the Grave Clothes

by Bill Bright

During the height of the student rebellion of the 1960s, a young man whom I had never met came to Campus Crusade for Christ's headquarters to look for temporary employment. Each time I saw him, he stared at me with obvious hostility.

One day I invited him to my office. "From your apparent resentment toward me, it is obvious that I have done something to offend you," I said.  "I would like to apologize. Would you please tell me what I have done?"

"You are the authority figure here, and I resent authority," he replied.

"How long have you been a Christian?" I inquired.

"Six months."

"Do you think your attitude toward authority is scriptural and honors the Lord?"

"No."

"Would you like to surrender your resentments toward authority and toward me to the Lord?"

He said he would, so we knelt together in prayer. From that time of prayer, the barrier between us was dissolved and became a bond of love.

There are two lessons I learned from this simple encounter:

First, many people who come to Christ often carry emotional, psychological, and even spiritual baggage. They do not suddenly become perfect as soon as they receive the Lord.  In fact, as long as they are in their human bodies, they will never become perfect, except in God's eternal perspective as He sees us through the blood of His Son.

Second, rather than condemning, we can help new believers overcome this baggage and be spiritually healed. Love and kindness can be very effective in bringing healing. This young man had a radical and rapid transformation from his former rebellious attitude.

Such new believers have been recently transformed from death to life. Like Lazarus, they may come with some of their "grave clothes" still on. Remember, when "Lazarus came out, bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth. Jesus told them, Unwrap him and let him go!'" (John 11:44, nlt).

With love, we can also help unwrap the grave clothes from the former spiritually dead, to God's glory.

Yours for helping to fulfill the Great Commission  each year until our Lord returns,

Bill Bright

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