What would you say if I allowed you to provide me with your life story in 15 minutes?
When you think about your past, does it bring back warm and fond memories of a loving and caring childhood, gentle and loving parents, and siblings? Or would your story contain memories of a past that was primarily bad? Would your life story revolve around how you have been mistreated in the past or how you have suffered? Do you focus on what was said/done or not said/done? Maybe you have very few memories of your past, but regardless of what you remember, you have one!
Therefore, we must understand what God’s Word says about biblically and adequately handling our past. God gave us our memory – He gave us the ability to retain and store information in our brains. Therefore, He must have a purpose and plan for those memories.
All you need to do is pick up the newspaper or turn on the nightly news to see that the issue of dealing with the past is primary in how the world deals with interpersonal problems, marriage and family problems, and behavioral matters such as in a legal trial for assault, or murder, or neglect.
Although it is not a popular view, I do not like to excuse poor behavior as an adult by blaming families and what happened to us as children. Yes, we may carry scars from our battles; we may have a sore or weak spot where we are especially sensitive, but ultimately, I believe that all of this can be overcome in Christ.
The Bible clearly says that in Christ, you are a new creation. (1 Cor. 6:9-11) You have a new family, the family of God. You have a new father, who is God. You have a new spirit, the Spirit of God, who lives with your very being. You have a new nature, given to you by the Lord Jesus Christ.
I refuse to be in bondage to the philosophy of the world that says we are all a victim of something. I refuse to blame my upbringing for my poor behavior. Even though I have had some challenging circumstances in my life, I am not an emotional wreck, I am not a victim, and I am not co-dependent, alcoholic, or mal-adjusted. I am a victorious, blood-washed, born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am victorious! And so are you!
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.Philippians 3:13-14 (NASB 1995)
How did I get from victim to victor? Because I learned and applied what the Word of God has to say about the past and the future.
He who covers his sins (in the past) will not prosper, (in the present and the future)…Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV)
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.Galatians 6:7 (NKJV)
Have you ever noticed how many stories there are in the Bible? There are so many stories of those who have gone before us, of their lives from beginning to end. We learn of their families, battles, triumphs, tragedies. So why has God given us these historical records to read and review? Is it because He is a good storyteller? Does He want to provide us with something to read besides doctrine? No, God intends we learn from our biblical predecessors, so we don’t make the same mistakes in our own lives (Job 2:10; Jas. 1:2-4). Through the Biblical narratives of the Old and New Testaments, we benefit from seeing how decisions at one end of a person’s life have affected them at the other end. Sometimes they have had drastic results and sometimes glorious ones.
Your past can significantly benefit you because you can look back at your decisions and learn from them all! The great choices and the ones that turned out not so good in the end all benefit you. In addition to learning from the past, you are also prepared to accept new trials in life.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
Romans 8:28-29 (NASB 1997)