Christian Counseling: Making Use Of The Past And Future

Recently copied from a counseling blog:  

"As the old saying goes, the past is history and there's nothing we can do about it, and the future is a mystery that we cannot deal with until we get there. The only thing we can influence is the present moment.  This is a real gift, which is why it's called the present."

Did you catch the pun on "present?" Anyway, I agree with the idea that the present is the place of action or influence. However, the present is never in true isolation from the past and future. What a person believes today is based on education, experiences and conclusions formed in the past, that influence present and future decisions. Present decisions, other than impulsive ones, are also made in line with forward thinking. If one wants to have a child, get married or secure a better job, then thinking and planning for that future are required. To ignore the past because it is useless history and avoid the future because there is little to nothing one can do about it until we are there is to limit present possibilities and opportunities. Instead, we can learn from the past, understand who we are in light of the past and mix in thoughts and dreams about what we want in the future, including the ideal of who we can or desire to become.   

Scripture is replete with writings about the past, present and future. The Bible says recorded history is given for our benefit, as examples to either follow or avoid. From them we gain, knowledge, wisdom, understanding and confidence about living today and in the future. Isaiah 51:1 says, "...Look to the rock from which you were hewn..." for it is there we can see the fingers of God at work, which can increase our faith and knowledge of Him. In Revelation 20:12 everyone's past deeds are written recorded for use in the future judgment. At that time it will be a record of the past being brought into the present. Revelation 6:10 tells us of future martyred saints who remember their past violent end on earth and ask God for vengeance in the future. And present hope defined is the assurance of a future reality.  

Even in counseling, looking back to the beginning of the treatment process and comparing it to the present clients can more easily see how they have changed and grown, which increases their confidence in the process and that their hard work will pay off in time. 

The hands of the present always hold hands with the past and future and, as such, the present is greatly influenced by them. Exploring those connections is enlightening. Being fully aware of one's history and its impact on the present will yield more options in the present and thereby help insure a brighter future. 

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