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A Pastor’s Reflections: The Past Does Not Define You

January 21, 2014


One of the things I regularly encountered as I counseled people in my pastorate was a fear of the past. Sometimes a person carried around his past like chains, or as the cliché goes, like a lot of baggage. A person might be fearful, for example, of seeking to be married because in their past, they made a mess of so many relationships, whether as a Christian or non-Christian.

One of the things I regularly told people is, “Don’t be defined by your past. Christ has forgiven you, freed you from the guilt and shame of your sin, and is presently sanctifying you, conforming you to his image. This means that your past sins no longer define you, but Christ defines who you are.” If you, for example, were an unbeliever who engaged in sexual immorality or substance abuse, your past no longer defines you. You are a new creature in Christ, holy and blameless (e.g., Eph. 4:22-32). I am sure that there might be a great degree of anxiety and trepidation with the thought of disclosing your past to a potential spouse. You fear that this person might reject you because of what you did in the past. Pray about your fears and place yourself in Christ’s hands. If Christ has accepted and forgiven you, then live without fear. And if a potential spouse rejects you because of your past, chances are you are better off without them. Chances are, there is someone out there who will love you as Christ has loved you.

Do not be defined, therefore, by who you were. Pray that Christ would enable you to be defined by who you presently are in Christ—forgiven, holy, united to him, a child of the living God, and a co-heir with Christ.