A Good Friday Contemplation: Consider Crafting an Ethical Will

One of the ways many Christians have traditionally contemplated on Good Friday is by reading and reflecting on the last words of Christ from the cross. The Gospel of Luke records the final words of Jesus before he died on the cross:

Jesus called out with a loud voice,
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
When he had said this, he breathed his last.
(Luke 23.46)

The concept of an Ethical Will has evolved over the centuries. As an ancient act, an Ethical Will can be found within the Old Testament as a verbal action undertaken right before one breathes one’s last breath. Genesis 49.33 states

When Jacob had finished instructing his sons,
he pulled his feet into the bed and breathed his last,
and he was gathered to his people.

Today, the concept of an Ethical Will has evolved into both a verbal and written action. It can be both written and stated in a personal tone and voice.

An Ethical Will can be a living document that evolves over one’s lifetime and can also be shared during one’s lifetime and not just after we breathed our last. It is not about passing on physical possessions that we may still need and cannot yet give to others during our lifetime.

An Ethical Will is an ongoing experience. It can be a living document that focuses on our spiritual values that have evolved, and are likely still evolving, over our lifetime and that we can also share during our lifetime and not just after we breathed our last.

Consider an Ethical Will

Consider sharing and leaving your spiritual values to family and friends of all ages.

Consider sharing personal experiences and stories that have shaped, and are shaping, your spiritual values with others during your lifetime. Share them both verbally and in writing.

Like a storyteller, recount your personal experiences and stories from memory while gathering with others informally in conversation. Write your personal experiences and stories from memory and from memorabilia and share appropriately with others close to you. You may want to tell or write stories that were passed on to you.

Also, consider leaving your spiritual values to family and friends of all ages by having your spiritual values bestowed by someone dear to you during your eulogy.

Giving a eulogy is a way of saying farewell to someone by capturing the essence of the person who passed away as a means for others to remember the person. It is a means to highlight the person’s enduring qualities for others to reflect upon for their own sake.

Let your Ethical Will be eulogized as a means of saying farewell to family, friends, and others of all ages and as a way of leaving them your spiritual values.

A personal perspective of an Ethical Will can be prayerfully expressed as

Family and Friends, into your hands I commit my spirit.

Craft an Ethical Will 

The scriptures are filled with values that have likely shaped your spiritual values. They undoubtedly include the first and greatest commandment and the second like it, which Jesus declared days before his crucifixion:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your mind.
This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
(Matthew 22. 37-40)

Fill your Ethnical Will with scriptures that have shaped your spiritual values. Search the scriptures for other verses, that upon reflection, express one or more of your spiritual values. Some of these scriptures may be values like

  • Bring good things out of the good stored up in (your) heart (Luke 6.45);
  • Desire to live honorably in every way (Hebrews 13.18); and
  • Be wise in the way you act towards others; make the most of every occasion (Colossians 4.5).

Include in your Ethnical Will stories that shaped your spiritual values. Stories about how

  • You brought good things out of the good stored up in your heart;
  • You desired to live honorably in every way; and
  • You were wise in the way that you acted towards someone and made the most of an occasion.

As you think about what spiritual values to include in your Ethical Will, experiences and events from your past, present, and future will shape your stories. You will not likely finish your Ethical Will until very late in life. Actually, finishing your Ethical Will is elusive to some extent. It is a living document as long as you live. In fact, you could plan for it to live beyond your lifetime.

. . . entrust these to faithful people who will be able
to pass them on to others also.”
(2 Timothy 2.2)

Read About Considering and Crafting an Ethical Will

Go ahead and read about considering and crafting an Ethical Will. There is a wide range of online resources to inform yourself that include

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