The other day I heard some one say (about someone else's character) What's in the past, is in the past. It's a familiar saying, one which most of us like to believe is true...but the more life experience I gain, the more I realize that most of the time, what's in the past is most definitely not actually in the past, but very much in the present.
I've often heard Dr. Phil say something to the effect that the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. I think he's right. Time alone does not fix our personality/character flaws. Time alone does not change us. Without genuine repentance and effort to be different, we are exactly who we were in the past. I don't think we do ourselves or anyone else any favors by leading them to believe otherwise.
I've often felt that changing myself was impossible. I've even more often thought that other people changing is impossible. And in ministry, you soon realize that many who say they've changed, have in fact not. And those who say they want to change are often telling the truth...however the hidden truth is that they don't want to do the work needed to change. Sounds depressing, no? Sometimes...it is. But there are those, those people who you see the change. They don't have to convince me, or anyone else because it radiates from them. It's visible. It's undeniable. They can say, I once was this and now I'm this. And no one disputes it.
That's when the past is truly in the past.