Click Map for Details

Flag Counter

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dying Well

As part of the Christian's witness, the Puritans stressed the importance of “dying well.” How can you get ready to “die well”? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, p. 448).

For Christians the prime example of someone who died well was Jesus himself. Despite his painful crucifixion, he died well in large part because he lived a sinless life. He consistently worship and served his heavenly Father. There was no occasion when he did not follow the will of the Father nor fail to apply the principles of love. Throughout his life (and even in death) in spiritual fact and behavior he loved God and his neighbor. He died well.

When we reach sexual maturity there is a tendency to view all love as sexually driven. A moment's reflection shows this is a totally inadequate view of love. First, there is the obvious fact that young children (whether born to us or not) need our love. Then, there is the consideration that we need to show love in friendships. Upon dad's pastorate reassignment and our imminent move from a community, the congregation would gather on the grounds and sing the following words: "Blessed be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love, the fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above." Many found it hard to sing this song without tears. This love, which is palpable, has nothing to do with sexual relations. Such non-sexual love is also an under-appreciated necessity for building a solid relationship between husband and wife.

So dying well includes the concept of living a life filled with love. The only insurmountable tragedy occurs when death arrives without this conceptual realization or in cases where the realization occurs only after it is too late for the dying person to act lovingly in significant ways.

In conclusion we can see that dying well does not require having lived a perfect life—else none could die well. It is highly admirable when during a lifetime one has substantially followed their conscience and the leadings of the Spirit—when there were few occasions when complacency or expediency trumped higher interests. But near perfection is not essential for dying well. John Newton penned “Amazing Grace” following his participation in the slave trade. Overcoming moral blindness, his perception and actions were decisively changed. Dying well is usually the result of living well—at least in significance if not in years.

Print Page