Putting Your Past in Its Place

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Author: Steve Viars


Moving Forward in Freedom and Forgiveness

Lives grind to a halt when people don't know how to relate to their past. Some believe "the past is nothing" and attempt to suppress the brokenness again and again. Others miss out on renewal and change by making the past more important than their present and future. Neither approach moves people toward healing or hope.

Pastor and biblical counselor Stephen Viars introduces a third way to view one's personal history -- by exploring the role of the past as God intended. Using Scripture to lead readers forward, Viars provides practical measures to

  • understand the important place "the past" is given in Scripture 
  • replace guilt and despair with forgiveness and hope 
  • turn failures into stepping stones for growth 

This motivating, compassionate resource is for anyone ready to review and release the past so that God can transform their behaviors, relationships, and their ability to hope in a future.

About the author:

Steve Viars is the Senior Pastor of Faith Church (Lafayette, IN);  ACBC Fellow and board member; Biblical Counseling Coalition board member; Vision Of Hope board member; instructor and counselor at Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries; married with three children; B.S., Bible, Baptist Bible College (Clarks Summit, PA); M.Div., Grace Theological Seminary; D.Min., Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary.

He is the author of Putting Your Past in Its Place; Loving Your Community; Overcoming Bitterness; Do You Believe What God Says about You? as well as several other works.


“The Christian counseling world has waited a long time for a book that has substantive help for people who are weighed down with problems from their past. It is finally here! Steve Viars has taken a difficult issue and, aptly and with clarity, applies practical theological answers to it. You cannot read this book without being personally changed. If you are looking for solid biblical answers about your past, this is the book for you.”  ~Dr. John D. Street, chair of the Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling program, The Master’s College and Seminary

“The gospel promises believers the power to change, but those who’ve experienced deep pain in their past often struggle with living by faith. Pastor Steve Viars’ new book, Putting Your Past in Its Place, offers practical, compassionate, biblical help for those with painful personal histories, and for their pastors and counselors.”  ~Dr. Laura Hendrickson, author, biblical counselor, psychiatrist

“Steve Viars is a pastoral psychologist of the best sort: realistic, practical, and thoroughly Christian. His book really does put the past in its proper place and does so by comforting, challenging, and encouraging those who need to make peace with their past. Whether you are struggling with the past yourself or one who counsels the strugglers, you cannot read this book and not be changed.”  ~Sam R. Williams, PhD, associate professor of counseling, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC

“Many of us remain paralyzed by our past even though freedom from our past was purchased on the cross. In this much-needed book, Steve Viars shows that the Bible teaches us what we need to know about learning from and disarming our past. So read well, see yourself, see Jesus, and receive His liberating grace.”  ~Paul Tripp, president, Paul Tripp Ministries and author of What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage

“In Putting Your Past in its Place, experienced biblical counselor and respected Bible scholar Steve Viars seeks to answer the important question, What role does a person’s past play in his or her present-day living? Viars bases his answer not on his or any other human being’s opinion but on God’s authoritative, infallible Word. This interesting and insightful book will be of great benefit to many people. Counselors will find this book to be very helpful, as will Christians who struggle with discerning a biblical perspective.”  ~Wayne Mack, professor of biblical counseling, Grace School of Ministry, Pretoria and Capetown, South Africa

“As a counselor I know people often get stuck in the past. Some wallow there and others make every effort to deny its effects. While Steve Viars boldly admits the importance of the past, he gives it no mystical power of causality for the redeemed. He is thoroughly biblical, pleasantly practical, and sets the record straight about how to handle your past in a God-honoring way. I challenge you to read this book with your own past in mind—then put your past in its place so you can help others do the same.”  ~Garrett Higbee, executive director of Twelve Stones Ministries 

“Steve Viars knows the problems we face, but he also knows that the answers to our problems are found in the Bible. In Putting Your Past in its Place, he takes his wealth of experience in the pulpit and in the counseling room and applies it to the difficulties faced by those who feel shackled to their past. If you want to deal with your past and yes, put it in its proper place, then this book is for you. It is thoroughly biblical, deeply compassionate, and engagingly hopeful. Buy it!”  ~Elyse Fitzpatrick, head of Women Helping Women Ministries and author of Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety

“Steve Viars suggests four ways of considering our past that are fresh, insightful, and hope-giving. The real-life stories from past counselees clearly model how Christ and His Word are pivotal in properly understanding our past and our future potential. I was helped personally by reading this book, and now I have a wonderful new tool to use in helping others!”  ~Randy Patten, former executive director, Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC)

“This book is for anyone whose past impacts their present. Wonderful characters from the Bible come alive as Steve Viars explains how they handled their past and demonstrates how the Bible gives us everything we need to not just understand our past, but also how to deal with it, and more importantly, how to face the future with hope. Through Steve’s use of clear illustrations, helpful stories, and careful exegesis, readers will be comforted and renewed as they consider their past and make plans for their future.”  ~Kevin Carson, Biblical counseling department chair, Baptist Bible Graduate School

“Page after page of wisdom, compassion, and understanding await those who use Putting Your Past in Its Place to address past hurts.”  ~Sam Hodges, executive producer, Church Initiative, Wake Forest, NC

“For a biblical, balanced, discerning, practical, and encouraging discussion of how to deal with one’s past, Putting Your Past in Its Place is a must-read. Steve Viars draws from counseling cases and personal experience to form biblically reasoned conclusions about how we deal with past sin and suffering in a way that frees us to live in grace rather than being enslaved in self-pity, anger, and bitterness.”  ~A. Charles Ware, president, Crossroads Bible College

“Steve Viars takes to heart the wisdom of Ecclesiastes 7:18—‘The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.’ Based on years of pastoral ministry, he develops an approach to dealing with the past that neither maximizes nor minimizes its importance in the life of the believer. Rather, he sets forth a biblically rich and well-illustrated third way that wisely addresses past suffering and past sin and provides gospel-laden hope for the present and the future.”  ~Michael R. Emlet, faculty and counselor, Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation, author of CrossTalk: Where Life and Scripture Meet

“Steve Viars offers a biblical, practical, and hope-filled book on the subject of one’s past. Since we all (and those we live with) have a past that influences us in one way or another, this book is a must-read for all! Whether you are a friend wanting to help a friend, someone who is looking for victory over serious past issues, or a full-time pastor/counselor in the Master’s service, you will find Putting Your Past in Its Place an insightful and invaluable resource for real change by God’s grace and for His glory.”  ~Stuart Scott, associate professor of Biblical counseling, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Absolutely everyone—whether they realize it or not—must deal with issues from their past. Steve Viars’s excellent book helps Christians do just that. His biblical input, his sound advice, his illustrations from his own life and others, and his effective pastoral counsel all combine to make this easily the best work on coming to grips with your past. What’s better, this book moves you past your past and into your present with a challenge to experience a robust faith in Christ, a sure hope in our heavenly Father, and a fervent love for the Holy Spirit and His truth. Where do you look in those times when your past seems to haunt you? Look no further! Steve Viars’s book will be of immense help as you work at Putting Your Past in Its Place.”  ~Lance Quinn, pastor-teacher

“We take risks when we share our past with someone. Whether we reveal shameful sins or oppressive suffering, we want to trust the person who hears it. My guess is that you will trust Steve Viars in just the first couple pages. He knows suffering from his own experience and as a veteran pastor who has loved many sufferers. You’ll get lots of Scripture. You’ll meet people like yourself. And since our pasts can be complicated and muddled, you will quickly appreciate that he is so clear.”  ~Edward T. Welch, faculty and counselor, Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation

“Theologically sound and pastorally wise, Steve Viars brings the weighty truths and life-changing stories of Scripture to tackle the gnawing problems of both our past sins and our past sufferings. Who would have thought that the Bible could so richly help us reframe our troubled past to bring order to our present and hope for our future?”  ~Robert D. Jones, author, assistant professor of Biblical counseling, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary