Book Review: Putting Your Past in It’s Place by Stephen Viars

“Putting Your Past in It’s Place” is a great tool for understanding how to deal with your past or for use as a tool to help another person who is struggling with his/her past.  Everyone carries a certain amount of baggage; it just depends on how people use it for God’s glory or their own foolishness. God always works our situations together for good, if we will trust Him and realize that His will is perfect and He never wastes opportunities to conform us into His image.

Viars, as a pastor, counselor and church leader, is well-equipped to understand God’s view of dealing with the past. His Biblical view of the sufficiency of Scripture drives the reader to see there are answers in Scripture and there are answers to dealing with hurtful and offensive actions. He does not peddle God’s word to make a person feel good, but challenges the reader to reflect on his own responsibility in dealing with the past in order to be free from the foolish weight one may carry.

Viars has developed an excellent chart in looking at past actions. On the one hand, he deals with actions done against you in which you were innocent (or at least you did not initiate the action against you). Within this category, he also deals with two of your responses: first, responses in which you acted Biblically and how to spiritually and emotionally deal with the offense and secondly, responses in which you did not act Biblically toward the offender and how to survey the battleground of injured people. He uses excellent Biblical examples to illustrate and explain the categories as well as give Biblical principles on how to overcome past actions done against you.

The second category is when you initiated the bad action. Within this category, he deals with what you should think and do when you responded well and when you responded poorly to your offense against others. Again, he uses excellent Biblical accounts to illustrate and explain.

Additionally, he weaves a thread of “Jill” and her story of dealing with both actions done against her and what she had done poorly. He provided several examples in each of the categories of current day testimonies of those he had counseled.

IF a person would seek to understand and then implement the biblical principles found within these pages, the Christian community would have a much better testimony to the unbelieving community. This is an excellent resource for using in counseling others carrying the heavy burdens from the past as well as reflecting on personal inventories.

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