Can Past Mistakes Come Back and Haunt Us?

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Billy Graham Tribune Content Agency

Can past mistakes come back and haunt us?

Nov 14, 2018

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Q: There is a lot in the news about past mistakes and how they can come back and haunt us. Are they mistakes or sins? — A.P.

A: Many people prefer calling sins mistakes but there is a difference. A driver can follow a GPS and ignore the prompt to make a turn and end up on a dead-end road. He has made a mistake of not following directions, but it is not a sin.

When someone lies about their past, however, God says that is a sin and sin is eventually revealed. A woman submitted her resume to a college and became its president. Later the board of trustees learned that she had never graduated from the university she claimed and was fired for lying. The story made front-page news. The trustees, though, had made a mistake by not checking her claims.

Even childhood actions have consequences of sin. A father once told his son, “Don’t go into that watermelon patch. The melons aren’t ripe yet.” But the young boy did go and broke a melon over the rocks, ate it, and spit the seeds out as he left. Sometime later, the father found watermelon sprouts on the other side of the fence. The boy did not make a mistake; his sin of disobedience was revealed.

The Bible warns, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). This truth has played out in lives from the beginning of time, and without God’s forgiveness, the guilt and shame will cause despair. The driver who ignored the directions will probably not anguish too long about his mistake, but there is no doubt that when a person’s lie is revealed, there is no human remedy that cures. God’s forgiveness is that ointment that heals and restores.

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(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

(c)2018 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

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