Before people can help a loved one who’s coping with a terminal illness, they must first face their own fears about death, says Saddleback Church Senior Pastor Rick Warren.
In a devotional published Sunday, Warren, who’s the author of the best-selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life, quoted Psalm 89:48: “No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave.”
“Before you can help anybody who is facing death, you’ve got to deal with the fears you have related to death,” stated Warren. “Death exposes our hidden fears. When we feel exposed, we typically hide. We’ve been hiding from our fears since Adam and Eve hid from God because of their nakedness.”
Warren described death as “quite ordinary” and “not weird,” arguing that it is best to, at the least, be there for someone who is on their death bed.
“I can’t count the number of people I’ve been with as they took their last breath. I’ve watched many, many people die,” continued Warren.
“Let me just put your mind at ease: It is almost impossible to mess it up. They already know they’re dying. Just by being there, you will make a difference.”
“The biggest mistake you can make with somebody who’s dying is simply not being there because you are afraid,” concluded Warren.
“Once you face your fears about death, you’ll be able to help your friends face their own fears when the time comes.”
This is not the first time Warren has centered a devotional on the topic of death. Last September he stressed in a devotional that “life doesn’t end with death.”
“One day your heart will stop beating, and that will be the end of your body. But it’s not going to be the end of you. You were made in God’s image. You were made to last forever,” wrote Warren last year.