In a sinful world, it’s no surprise when the latest scandal hits headlines. From underhanded government figures to the recent multi-million dollar college admissions cheating scam—scandals have a way of widening the world’s eyes and discrediting the guilty party’s reputation. In truth, scandals reveal we are all sinners in need of God’s grace.
So, how does one address scandal when it comes to the light? Should the guilty be chastised? Judged? Forgiven?
Below is a combination of writings from Billy Graham on the topic of scandal and moving on from past mistakes:
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.