Topic 24: Past still haunts us?
Question: In light of the discussion in ch. 19 of How People Grow, what role do you think the past plays in our growth & how should we deal with our past? For instance, some people would argue that we can just forget the past & leave it entirely behind us. Others think that we can never escape our past & it will forever haunt us. What do you think? (Be sure to do more research into the issue. If the group cannot come to a consensus, feel free to have different group members each express their own opinions.)
Our Pasts: Why do they Haunt Us?
A past, a thing that everyone of us has, whether it is pleasant, or not so pleasant. It’s one of those things in our lives that all of us have to deal with, every minute of everyday. The way we deal with it, or manage it, makes us the kind of person that we are today. Some people choose to deal with their pasts in different way; let it haunt them and never try to do anything about, others act like they have no past or the past is past and they just don’t worry about it, or they try to reconcile with those they’ve done wrong and themselves, or they deal with the problem when it happens so that it doesn’t become a problem. . But which is the true and right way to deal with this problem, if it is a problem for you, well that is what we are going to discuss, in-depth, here.
What Kind of Things Haunt us?
There are many things in our past that can haunt us. Here is a small list that gives you an idea of what kind of things get to people:
A sexual encounter that should have never happened An angry outburst against someone you love A death to someone you were close to A relationship that went wrong Personally facing a near death situation Social rejection as a child or a young adult A bad relationship with your parents A divorce Experiencing abuse of any kind An addiction to drugs, alcohol, or gambling An Eating Disorder A bad decision in any form
These are the kind of things that tend to haunt people from the time of the incident, until it is resolved in one way, shape or form.
The past does still haunt us in a way. There are people who wish they could go back in time and change some of the things they did. For instance, when drunk drivers kill someone, they are usually full of remorse because once they sober up they know what they did and have to live with the fact that they took an innocent life. People who make stupid decisions always want to go back and fix things. On the other hand, everybody else that doesn’t regret or feel haunted by the past learns from the past and doesn’t make the same mistakes. Someone once told me to have no regrets, no matter what, just remember what was done and to make a different decision, one that will not haunt us. In a way, the past can haunt us, but only if we let it. It is completely our choice if the past haunts us. If we let the past haunt us, it could end up running our lives and stopping us from doing things that we enjoy.
One thing that tends to haunt peoples lives for a very longtime and is so severe that sometimes people never get over it and it completely ruins their lives, and this horrible, degrading thing is sexual abuse and rape. This is a serious problem for the person that this has happened too, a devastating act that causes massive amounts of emotional trauma and stress. So what is a person to do, regarding these emotional issues? It is not easily forgotten, but some people are able to do so, some don’t know how to deal with it and really want to receive help to get over it and get on with their lives, and yet there are still some who believe it is their fault and that they should have to live with it. Well there are pros and cons to all of these approaches, but which is really the best?
Should you just bottle it up and never think about like it never happened? How will this help me, or will it help me at all? Well the fact of the matter is, this, at first, isn’t as bad as it seems, you will temporarily be able to get over it a lot fast if you just cross it out of you memory, and you will be able to go on with you life and be able to function in society. But as you may have noticed I said temporarily, what do I mean by this? Well this is the same principle as with anything else, if you bottle it up and hold it inside yourself, and never let it out, you will eventually explode and have a meltdown of built up emotions. Granted that if you keep things to your self, the meltdown is inevitable, now you are in a position to where you have to get over it, somehow some way, and at this point it is not a very easy task, nor is it at any point, but it just tends to get worse if you wait.
Now how do you get over it, well the first, simplest, and easiest steps would be to read a self-help book, they tend to be very effective means of learning about how other have deal with it, and they will also give you some insight on how to begin the process of getting back to yourself. Talking to a trusted friend or family member is a very good way to just get the issue out in the open, if you’ve been keeping it a secret, and even if haven’t kept it a secret, its good to just vent to someone about the issue, get mad, yell, cry just release some of you emotions. And on occasion is good enough, and they are able to move along and get on with their lives. These actions will most likely be able to help those who are quickly ready to get over the incident . But there are some more serious situations, where this isn’t enough, and these situation tend to be worsened by waiting and holding it in. People in these such situations will need to go a step further and seek the aid of a therapist who are trained to help people get over these kinds of problems and others like them. Joining a support group is also able to help by being with those who have been through the same situation that you have been through. Making you realize that you aren’t the only one in the world.
Our past experiences will without a doubt change our view on how this world works, how just life is. These view changes can either boost or hinder our spiritual work, depending on what our experiences have been and how we have handled those experience. Sometimes our past maybe be our future like the things that other people may have done in our past can effect our present and our future such as Adam his sin effects all man kind but you may think oh that cant be true that was the beginning of time how does that effect us, well God gave a us a clean slate just like Adam God told us what we can and cant do and what our boundaries are Adam would have lived for ever given what was needed to him sin free and no death sound awesome and I probably was but because of the sin against god that he did none of us can live that life that Adam had in the beginning. So I believe the past effects us no matter what the time date time or place it was done it effects us: Abe Lincoln- if he never died who knows what the us would be like, how we look and our government thanks to tax collectors now and in the past also bill and Monica and his lust trip all of this effects us in some way shape or form. Such as is
Romans 5 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
When trying to heal from sexual abuse the and any other kind of abuse or difficultly from the past it is important that you are able to retain or regain a biblical view of the situation. Sex, for example, is meant to be a beautiful thing that God gave as a gift to a man and his wife. But throughout time sex has been turned into this filthy, dirty, vulgar thing, through the use of pornography and other forms of media. Nearly all people in our society today have fallen and viewed pornography and many have given into the temptation of pre-martial sex. And there is an alarming number of people coming out about being abused as a child. When people get this filthy image in their minds it can tend to bother them for a very long time. But the key to this is going back to the beginning, to the original, beautiful plan that God had made for us and for the use of sex. People tend to feel very guilty after an unpleasant experience such as sexual abuse. Wondering if in some way they wanted it, or that they brought it on themselves. But the reality of the situation is, that they have absolutely no reason to feel guilty about the situation. The first thing they need to understand is that is that those who commit abuse like that have a problem, and that there is nothing wrong with the victim. Another problem that tends to arise is the fact this guilt and other feelings tend to block a persons journey to Christ and it’s a huge bump in God’s plan for you. By letting this element of your past or any part of your past weigh you down, it becomes nearly impossible for you to advance your faith and your life. As a weakness this is what it can do to you, but the key is to turn it around, let it go, and turn it into one of your strengths , by learning to deal with it and then helping other to deal and conquer their problems. This will make you shine in you faith like no other, and will help other leave their garbage behind and go in the right direction towards Christ for its in his name you where able to conquer your problem and its in his name that you helped them to get over their own. The hardest thing in the world to do in a situation like this or in nearly all remotely bad situations is to forgive those who have done you wrong. Now something as traumatizing as this, it may seem nearly impossible for you to forgive that person. But as a Christian we know that God showed mercy on us when he sacrifice his only son to die a painful death for ours sins so that we may live forever in the kingdom of heaven with the father. For he showed us mercy, we should show mercy and forgiveness on our fellow man. Many times you may want to seek revenge, but it is not our place, the Lord will deal with them in the end, and by doing this, and doing it with a true and pure heart, you will finally be free from that element of your past.