DEAR DR. GRAHAM: I know I made a lot of bad decisions over the years, but I always hoped my kids would learn from my mistakes. Well, I’m afraid that hasn’t happened, and now my family seems to be coming apart at the seams. Why won’t they learn to do what’s right? — Mrs. W.C.

DEAR MRS. W.C.: I’ve often asked myself the same question: Why don’t we learn from the mistakes of others? And yet we seldom do. Instead, we go on making the same mistakes others have made, generation after generation. The writer of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament stated it well: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Why is this? One reason is because we always think we’ll be the exception, and what’s happened to someone else won’t happen to us. To put it another way, we think we’re smarter than they were, and we’ll be able to avoid the consequences. But this simply isn’t true. Bad decisions always, without exception, produce bad consequences.

You see, God has told us what’s right and wrong, and when we ignore Him and turn our backs on His moral standards, we will pay a price. But our hearts are in rebellion against Him, and even when we know better, we often fall for Satan’s lies. The Bible warns, “A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7).

Pray for your family, asking God to awaken them to the error of their ways and help them turn instead to Him for the wisdom they need.

Ask God also to open the door for you to talk with your children — not lecturing them or condemning them for the way they’re living, but letting them know you love them, and hope they’ll avoid your mistakes and follow Christ.

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 go to

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