Do we and Billy Graham have some things we would have done differently in our lives?
Can you look back at your life and think you would have done things differently and maybe listened to those who were giving you godly advice? Had I known then what I know now, I could have avoided many mistakes. There is so much we can learn from others, and that might come from a word from a solid Christian friend. It might come from reading someone’s biography. It might even come from someone who doesn’t like us. But we would do well to at least listen and examine our lives to see if what they say is true and can help us avoid pitfalls in the future.
More Time With Family
No one I have counseled on his deathbed or in old age at a nursing home ever told me he wished he didn’t spend so much time with family. On the contrary, those who are dying often have great regret about not spending more time with their family, just as Billy Graham said in an interview with Chris Piper not long ago. You cannot ever get back time that’s lost. When it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Your money can’t buy another minute. Friday night is our family time, and it’s not negotiable. All I can tell you if you try to reach me on Friday is “Please leave a message.”
Not Do It All
I learned this the hard way, to be sure. I had to learn how to say “No” instead of knowing when to say “No” or being so overburdened I had to say “No.” I don’t feel bad because even the great evangelist Billy Graham said he “wouldn’t have taken so many speaking engagements, including some of the things I did over the years that I probably didn’t really need to do, like weddings and funerals and building dedications, things like that.” He learned he can’t be everywhere at once. Only God is omnipresent. I wished I had known that earlier in my life. My mentor, a retired senior pastor, tried to warn me about this, but my pride prevented me from listening. When we say “Yes” to a lot of things, we often say “No” to our families. I learned that I cannot do it all, even if others think I can!
Steer Clear of Politics
The old saying is that family and politics don’t mix, but neither does religion it seems, although religion is more important than anything else on Earth. When Billy Graham was asked if He’d do anything differently, he said that he’d steer clear of politics. He does acknowledge meeting with people of great power and saying that they also have spiritual needs, but he said, “I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.” He isn’t saying we shouldn’t vote, but like all of us, there are things he wished he’d have done differently.
We can either learn the hard way from experience or use the experiences of others and not repeat the same mistakes. Our pride can cause us to not take the advice of others. What is it that you would have done differently? Billy Graham admits that he could have done things differently, so surely we can do the same. Better yet, let’s try to use the experience of others to avoid making the mistakes they made. Today I regret not listening to the advice and experience of others, but I am not tripping over what’s behind me. I just learn from it and move on. Experience is a great teacher, but she is a ruthless teacher, too. She won’t let you retake the test. You have to live with the consequences, even though, thankfully, God forgives.