Although we aren't able to change our past, we as Christians can always change our future through a relationship with Christ, the Rev. Billy Graham writes.
Graham, founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, wrote in a recent blog post for the Kansas City Star that although we cannot change our past, we have the opportunity to improve ourselves in the future, and we shouldn't allow our poor past choices to stop us from forming a relationship with God.
Graham explains that while "bad decisions always have bad consequences," you can change your future with God's help.
One of the first steps in restoring your relationship with God is to reconnect with your local church, which you may have left after your past mistakes.
"... It may be difficult or embarrassing for you to return to the church you once attended, but that doesn't mean God can't guide you to a new group of believers who can encourage and help you. If our bodies are sick, we'll go where we can find help, and if we're spiritually sick, we ought to do the same," the evangelical leader explains, pointing to 1 Thessalonians 5:11 which reads: "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up."
Along with rejoining a strong Christian community, Christians who have done wrong in the past must ask God for forgiveness.
"Don't let shame, or fear, or guilt, or anything else keep you from Christ. He loves you and offers you forgiveness as a free gift, a gift he paid for at the cost of his own blood. No sin is beyond his forgiveness. Leave your burden of guilt and shame at the foot of the cross," Graham encourages.
In a previous blog post, Graham has encouraged the importance of repenting for our sins, explaining that it is often a good spiritual sign if we feel guilty for what we've done in the past.
"If you just laughed about it, or dismissed it as unimportant, or didn't feel any guilt over what you've done and the people you've hurt, then you'd be in great spiritual danger, because you wouldn't feel any need for God. But you do feel guilty, and because you do, you've taken your first step toward seeking God's forgiveness," the Baptist minister says.
Graham adds that ultimately, God will give us the gift of forgiveness, even if we have trouble forgiving ourselves.
"... you're wrong when you say God can't forgive you because you can't forgive yourself! Is God less powerful than you? Is God less loving than you? To put it another way, are God's hands tied until you get your own life in order?" the evangelical leader questions.
"No, of course not. Jesus Christ didn't wait until we were perfect to give His life for us," Graham adds, pointing to Romans 5:8 which reads: "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."