Pastor and biblical counselor Stephen Viars has written a useful work concerning dealing with our past. He believes there are two extremes: Believing our past is nothing and believing it is everything (p. 17). In order to get a good handle on our past, and respond to it biblically, Viars suggest four buckets, around which he develops his book (p. 69).
- Bucket #1 – The innocent past where you responded well. In chapter six, (the best chapter in the book, this reviewer believes) the author titles this response as authentic suffering. He calls on his readers to face the innocent past honestly, biblically, hopefully, and missionally.
- Bucket #2 – The innocent past when you responded poorly requires humble analysis to determine if reaction to the sin of others against ourselves was/is biblical.
- Bucket #3 – This moves to our personal past guilt, in this case when we have responded well and look back with joyful remembrance.
- Bucket #4 – This reverses course and deals with past guilt to which we poorly responded. What is needed at this point is honest self-confrontation.
For those struggling with the past they will find this book of value. Each chapter concludes with questions for personal reflection as well as group discussion. This adds to the usefulness of the volume, especially for counseling purposes
by Stephen Viars (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2011) 247 pp., paper $14.99
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher at Southern View Chapel