Only few issues (if any at all) from the past do not affect the future for good or for bad. We are all a product of what we’ve been through. The nature of upbringing given to your partner by their parents or guardians itself as innocent as it appears, is a past that will always affect their present and future for good or for bad if nothing is done to change it.
There are several negative baggage that couples deal with in one another that came from parental upbringing. Knowing details about the upbringing itself helps you to deal better with your partner according to knowledge. How will you know if it is not disclosed? As a general rule therefore, full disclosure of your past is essential and as you can see, this does not relate only to sexual matters. If the two of you are actually best friends, you will share all these issues in the course of spontaneous fellowship without pre-planning.
I am not going to tell those God has called me to disciple that the past is past, just ignore it. I will tell you pointedly that courtship is a time of investigation. It’s a time to conduct background checks. It’s a time of examination and cross-examination. Yes, it’s that serious. Marriage is permanent my friend. It alters your life permanently and almost irretrievably.
That’s why at the beginning of courtship, you’re not supposed to have fallen irretrievably in love. You’re supposed to still be guarding your heart until sufficient checks have been completed and they are satisfactory to you.
Even if you’re purchasing an ordinary land, you won’t say its past is irrelevant. Even if it will turn out irrelevant, you want to first get the information. Who is the real owner of this land? Am I buying from the right person? Is the land already an object of government acquisition? Has the land been used as security for a loan that hasn’t been fully liquidated? Is there an uncompleted court case affecting the land? If you don’t do all these, you may lose all your money to fraudulent people. The same goes for purchasing a Foreign-Used car. You have to investigate its history if you don’t want to regret your purchase.
Marriage is more potent than buying a car or land. If you make a mistake with buying a car or land, you could drop it and go for another one. That’s not possible with marriage. That is why I charge you friends, don’t commit your heart to anyone even in courtship until you have obtained all relevant information and prayerfully processed them. Don’t allow them to rush you to the altar. Take your time. Don’t ignore anything. Even the little clues matter. Probe them. That may lead you into bigger discoveries.
Truly for some people, the past is past. But for some what they call past is still present and continuous. You’re just meeting this person. Even if you had been friends, courtship is a different context. The proper rule will still be conduct your due diligence, carry out thorough background checks. Ask penetrative questions where necessary. You can’t be afraid of asking questions at this time, friend. Your life is the price you’ll pay for this “purchase” you’re about to make. If you get it wrong, your life is gone!!!
If someone says for instance that he’s now born again. That he used to fornicate but now he has changed. It is a relevant question to ask the following questions: 1. When was the last time you fornicated? (because you want to know whether it was a long time or still recent) 2. What event precisely led to your conversion? 3. Have you maintained your new life ever since then?
(Some people may also want to know who you fornicated with (even if they don’t know them personally) just for the sake of being a check on you in relation to that person. This may be a good practice (depending on the peculiarity of the situation) because we’ve had situations whereby someone is still maintaining a close relationship with a former sexual partner and the current partner is not able to act as a check because s/he thinks that person is just a casual friend.
There is no single person I have ever had a relationship or “attempted relationship” with that Iyebiye doesn’t know at least by name. Vice versa. If I begin to call such people every morning and evening, her protective antenna will better respond because she knows those people aren’t ordinary people in my life. That’s what we are talking about. It’s for your safety).
If the guy says he still fornicated last month (meaning it’s still recent) but he changed after then; even if he has truly changed, his conversion is still too young to qualify him for courtship with you. Let’s allow some time to watch him and see how genuine his conversion is. Or else, you could make the mistake some very precious brothers and sisters have made who rushed into courtship (and unfortunately, sometimes marriage) with someone who really hasn’t encountered the man of Calvary but pretended to have, and they have had themselves to blame forever.
The goal of obtaining important information about your past is not always so that your partner can leave you, many times it is so that they can know how to better relate with you. Sometimes, it is so that both of you can seek help – spiritual, psychological, medical – depending on the nature of the issue while you are still in courtship so that your marriage can be more successful. If you hide the information, you won’t have the opportunity to correct the problem and that problem may eventually scatter the marriage.
If your past is truly past, you shouldn’t be afraid of disclosure especially with someone who has shown a commitment to be with you for life. If you’re truly a changed person, it becomes easy to talk about where you were before Jesus came to rescue you. That’s usually the mark of true conversion.
Paul talked about his own past boldly throughout his ministry. He wasn’t ashamed of it because he had experienced a true change of life that everyone can attest to and also a conscience that has been truly purged from guilt through the assurance of forgiveness that comes by the blood of Jesus Christ.
It wasn’t also a problem for the bible to constantly refer to Rahab as “Rahab the harlot” even in Hebrews 11 where the lineage of the Heroes of faith was being traced. It means God Himself is not ashamed to identify with your past. God is not only the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but also the God of Rahab the harlot.
If that description was omitted, wouldn’t we have thought that God only uses people with impeccable past? What message then will save harlots? Rahab’s past became a message that has been converting very rough sinners for generations. When will your own past become an instrument of conversion if you are still holding tenaciously to it and you cannot even share it with anyone?
It is either because your past is not yet a past or you have not yet presented yourself for the cleansing of the blood that purges your conscience from every guilt. Hebrews 10:19-23.
Your partner will only get worried when they see traces in the present of what you said was a past life. If there is no such traces, and they constantly see your new life in Christ waxing stronger every day, forget it, they’ll trust you hundred percent.
If you’re reading this and you know that your past is still in your present, would you want to settle the matter today by coming before the Lord in repentance (which involves confessing your sins to God) and asking him to save you from them? He will do it and make your past a past from today.
If you’re changed but still struggling with a guilty conscience, will you freely accept the forgiveness of Jesus Christ today? Meditate on Ephesians 1:3-7 and Hebrews 10:1-23; especially verses 19-23.
As a means to complete healing, find someone who is currently experiencing your past and share the story of how God saved you from that same thing they’re struggling with. The more you do this, the more you’ll be freed from the hold of that past and the more you’re able to turn your past pain into an instrument that God can use. That’s smart don’t you think? To turn your pain into purpose?
May you receive strength to do this in Jesus name.
I will write a Part 2 for TURNING YOUR PAST PAIN TO PURPOSE next week and that one is even more critical than this. Ensure you don’t miss it.
Peniela Eniayo Akintujoye.
©Peniela Eniayo, Akintujoye| email@example.com