Unwrapping The Graveclothes
Lazarus came out, bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, "Unwrap him and let him go!" (John 11:44).
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.
"Do you think your attitude toward authority is scriptural and honors the Lord?"
"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. As soon as they receive the Lord, they do not suddenly become perfect. 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 "graveclothes" still on. Remember, when "Lazarus came out, bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, 'Unwrap him and let him go!'" (John 11:44, NLT).
With love, we can also help unwrap the graveclothes from the former spiritually dead, to God's glory.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
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