DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Our son took his life last year, after a long battle with depression, drugs and alcohol. We grieve for him, of course, but our real problem is that we’re almost overwhelmed with guilt. What did we do wrong? How could we have been such bad parents? Will God ever forgive us? — M.M.
DEAR M.M.: My heart goes out to you; as a parent, I can think of nothing harder than losing a son or daughter, particularly through such heartbreaking circumstances. May Jesus’ promises of comfort and peace take root in your minds and hearts every day. He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.… Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
Could you have done anything to prevent this tragedy? I don’t know, and to be honest, I doubt if you do, either. What I do know is that feelings of guilt often get magnified or distorted far beyond what they should be when tragedies occur. We think we alone have failed, and that we alone bear the responsibility for what happened. But this is seldom true, and I seriously doubt if it’s true in your case. Don’t let false guilt overwhelm you.
Instead, find your peace in Jesus Christ, who came to take away our sins and our guilt by his death on the cross. Take your feelings to the cross — and leave them there. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Never forget: God knows what it is to lose a son, but it happened because God loves us. And because he loves us, we can turn to Christ in faith and trust, even in life’s darkest hours.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.
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