Tuesday, October 5, 2010

When You Feel Despair - A Reflection On Rutger Student Tyler Clementi and His Suicide

The story of Tyler Clementi, the Rutger's student who committed suicide because of his shame, is extremely tragic and sad. Two thoughts.

1 - To those who feel despair and don't like themselves - you are precious and wonderful. Your life is a gift from God and while there are times when you may not like what is happening, but these will not last forever. There are others out there who you can talk to and who can help you. Don't give up. Don't ever give up. God is love and there is nothing any of us can do to make Him stop loving us. Nothing. He loves you.

2 - To those that bully, ostracize or hurt other (and we all have hurt others at some point) - your actions have consequences, sometimes very grave ones. You might do it out of "fun", but if it is malicious, it isn't fun for the other person. Even cyber-bullying can have deadly consequences, as we learned in this case.

For a few more thoughts on this subject, I think this article has is a great reflection.
The homosexual community will argue that these boys were oppressed by the fact that so many believe that homosexuality is sinful. They respond with calls for the acceptance and normalization of homosexuality. Their logic is easy to understand. If the stigma attached to homosexuality were to disappear, persons who are convinced that they are homosexual in sexual orientation, along with those who are confused, would be free from bullying, the threat of exposure, and injury to their parents and loved ones.

Of course, Christians committed to biblical truth will recognize this as a demand to lie to sinners about their sin. The church cannot change its understanding of the sinfulness of homosexual acts unless it willfully disobeys the Scripture and rejects the authority of the Bible to reveal the truth about sin and sinfulness.

In other words, the believing church cannot surrender to the demand that we disobey and reject biblical truth. That much is clear. We cannot lie to persons about the sinfulness of their sin, nor comfort them with falsehood about their moral accountability before God. The rush of the liberal churches and denominations to normalize homosexuality is now a hallmark of their disobedience to the Bible.

But this is not the end of the matter, and we know it. When gay activists accuse conservative Christians of homophobia, they are wrong. Our concern about the sinfulness of homosexuality is not rooted in fear, but in faithfulness to the Bible — and faithfulness means telling the truth.

Yet, when gay activists accuse conservative Christians of homophobia, they are also right. Much of our response to homosexuality is rooted in ignorance and fear. We speak of homosexuals as a particular class of especially depraved sinners and we lie about how homosexuals experience their own struggle. Far too many evangelical pastors talk about sexual orientation with a crude dismissal or with glib assurances that gay persons simply choose to be gay. While most evangelicals know that the Bible condemns homosexuality, far too many find comfort in their own moralism, consigning homosexuals to a theological or moral category all their own.

What if Tyler Clementi had been in your church? Would he have heard biblical truth presented in a context of humble truth-telling and gospel urgency, or would he have heard irresponsible slander, sarcastic jabs, and moralistic self-congratulation? What about Asher and Billy and Seth?

The teenage years are hard enough to navigate. Most boys do not struggle with homosexuality, but there is not a teenage boy alive who does not struggle with sexual confusion. There is no deacon, preacher, or pew-sitter who went through male adolescence unscathed and without sin. There is not a human being who reaches school age who would not be humiliated by a well-placed webcam. And yet these boys — along with girls facing similar struggles — imagine themselves to be alone in their confusion and helpless in their anguish.

Was there no one to step between Tyler Clementi and that bridge? Was there no friend, classmate, or trusted adult who had the courage and compassion to reach into his life and offer hope? Was there no one who could tell him that the anguish of his moment would not last for his lifetime? Was there no one to put into perspective the fact that people who did not love him had taken advantage of him, but that the many who did love him would love him no less?

We can only look at this news account and grieve. As Christians, we just have to wonder. Was there no believer to befriend Tyler and, without loving his homosexuality, love him? The homosexual community insists that to love someone is to love their sexual orientation. We know this to be a lie. But no one who loves me should love nor rationalize my sin. The church must be the people who speak honestly about sin because we have first learned by God’s grace to speak honestly of our own.

Something has gone horribly wrong when four young boys take their lives in the space of one month, and a society just goes on with its business. There are grieving parents and loved ones who will never get over that month, and there were four young men who did not survive it.

There are Tylers and Ashers and Billys and Seths all around us. They are in our schools, in our neighborhoods, in our churches . . . and in our homes. They, like us, desperately need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to know the grace of God toward sinners. They, like us, need to know the mercy of God extended to sinners through Christ Jesus. They, like us, need to repent of their sins and learn by grace how to grow into faithfulness. They, like us, need to know that they are loved if they are going to trust Christians to tell them about Jesus.
Continue reading
Pray for Tyler, those who bullied him and the friends and families involved.
Love all those that God gives us time with, even if their actions are sinful. But, remember that we are all sinners and all need forgiveness. None of us is perfect and we shouldn't reject others because of a sin.
Pray for everyone who does not like themselves and is despairing.

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