By Billy Graham, Tribune Media Services
Q: After I got into drugs, I can't believe how many people I hurt. Six months ago, I gave my life to Jesus and I'm a totally different person now, but how can I go back and make things right with them? Or should I even try? -- D.D.
A: Yes, you should try, and I encourage you to do whatever you can to undo the hurts you have caused. You cannot change the past -- but you also can't ignore it, nor will those you have hurt ignore it.
The Gospels record many instances of people whose lives were changed when they met Jesus -- but few were as dramatic as that of Zacchaeus. (You can read about him in Luke 19:1-10.) Zacchaeus was a tax collector for the Roman government -- and in those days tax collectors were hated because they were notorious for cheating people by keeping some of the taxes for themselves.
But when Zacchaeus committed his life to Jesus, his first reaction was to try to undo the hurts he had caused: "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount" (Luke 19:8). This should be your attitude also.
Make a list of those you've hurt, and then let them know you are sorry for how you treated them in the past. But let them know also that you have given your life to Christ, and you aren't the same person you once were. Not everyone may believe you or be willing to forgive you -- but don't let that hold you back. Christ has changed your life, and He will continue to change it as you yield yourself to Him every day. The Bible says, "The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it" (1 Thessalonians 5:24).