The Rev. Billy Graham had a simple message–give your life to Jesus. And that’s exactly what he did. He may have counseled presidents, he may have been the first religious leader to lie in state in the nation’s Capitol, he may have founded a media dynasty, but he always knew who he was.
In many ways, he transcended religious differences as he spread his missionary message to souls in 185 countries. He had a special friendship with Pope St. John Paul II. And in his death at the age of 99, he has, for just a moment, caused the world to focus on something that seems barely whispered about in the secular media today. Where will we go when we die?
When asked about death, Rev. Graham told a worried follower, “You should not worry. The Bible clearly teaches that if we know Christ, we are safely in God’s hands forever.”
When asked how we can know for sure that heaven exists he said, “The only way you could know for sure…would be for someone to die and go there–and then come back to life and tell us about it. And that’s exactly what Jesus did.”
He frequently counseled his followers with the words, “Come and give your life to Christ. Do it now, while there’s still time.”
Getting right with God is, of course, the most important thing you should do. And while you’re at it, consider things you might want to say to those you love while you’re still here.
Five Things to Say Before You Die
You might start with, “I’m sorry.” If there are people you’ve harmed, now’s the time to set things right. As it says in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
The words “I forgive you” come right along with expressing remorse. Psychologists will tell you forgiveness is mainly for your benefit because it allows you to let go of bitterness, which in turn helps to free your soul.
“I love you,“ is next on the list. I believe this is easier to say these days than it once was, particularly for men, but it can still come hard. Don’t assume that your loved ones know how you feel.
Then there’s “Thank you.” You may take all of that care you’ve received over your lifetime for granted, but you should know that it isn’t always easy to be there for someone else. For those who are “there” for you, be grateful.
And finally, say goodbye. That might be the hardest part, because people are afraid to leave their loved ones behind. Give those you love a chance to tell you how much you mean to them and let them know about their place in your heart as well. It’s healing for you both, and it’s a gift only you can give.
Billy Graham had a heart for Christ. He called people to repent and believe in the Gospel and to love one another. We can learn a lot from the great evangelist, and his last words to his granddaughter as she was saying goodbye. They were simply, “I love you.”