Health & Spirit

Can God help me to get over this feeling?

By Billy Graham, Tribune Content Agency on

Q: Some years ago my brother took his life. He was an alcoholic and had lots of other problems. I tried to help him, but I've always been burdened with guilt because I know I should have done more. Can God somehow help me to get over this feeling? -- Mrs. M.McK.

A: Few events, I'm convinced, are more traumatic than the suicide of someone we love. We always wonder what we could have done to prevent it, and almost inevitably we feel guilty because we didn't understand their pain, and we didn't do more to help them. I gather this has been your experience.

Two important truths came to mind as I read your letter. First, even when we've failed others in ways we didn't even realize at the time, God still loves us, and He freely offers us His forgiveness and grace. Remember: When Jesus Christ went to the cross, He took upon Himself every sin you and I ever committed, or ever would commit. Jesus' invitation is for you: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

Second, don't be a captive to the past -- and especially to undeserved guilt. You tried to help your brother, but even if you could have done more, he still might have refused your help. We must leave the past in God's hands, and then ask Him to help us be more sensitive and compassionate in the future.

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As a footnote, whenever I answer a question about suicide, I'm always aware that someone reading this may be contemplating taking their own life. I pray you won't take that final, terrible step, but will realize that God deeply loves you, and He wants to give you hope for the future. Seek His help, and the help of others.


(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:



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