The Expository Files.

"My Problem Is My Past!"   

Mantras of the 90's #5      

One of the hot topics on talk shows, among movie stars and in magazines is THE CURRENT EFFECTS OF PAST ABUSE. As claims are made about dysfunctional families, codependency and all kinds of new psychological disorders, we often hear folks say:

"My Problem Is My Past!"

A number of people in our society are convinced that their present attitudes, behavior problems and habits have their origin in their past. Often there is the implication that one is a victim of some past relationship, or that they have been programmed a certain way by their parents or family.

In responding to this, we cannot simply dismiss the influence of the past. The Bible teaches us, our past does have impact in our present and future. There are real cases in the Bible where children were hurt by poor parenting, or people suffered because of their own past actions. Without any doubt, things can happen to us (either at the hands of others, or our own foolishness), and these things have consequences.

Let us not ignore, there may be things in our past that can really help us! Past success can give us confidence and courage for the days ahead. Past education and the Bible knowledge we have gained can be positive forces in us today. As we remember what we've done in the past, repentance can result (Rev. 2:5), and our past can help keep us humble (Deut. 9:7). The Bible admits the influence of the past, but there are positive things as well as negative.

What is needed is, an evaluation of the past accompanied by the desire to profit from the good, deal with the bad, and repent of any sin we've committed! I need to realize, regardless of what has happened to me in the past, I can be forgiven by Christ and I can be what I ought to be through Him (Phil. 4:13). I can study and pray and use God's Word to overcome past disadvantages. I can repent of my own sin, and be more watchful and careful in the future. By the grace of God I can rejoice that I am not locke

d into doom because of my past! We can turn adversity into advantage; we can deal with real problems in the past; we can cope and be responsible today, through the power of the gospel of Christ.

"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philip 3:13,14, NKJV).

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin." (Heb. 12:1-4, NKJV).

By Warren E. Berkley  
From Expository Files 4.5; May 1997