I just found this great piece by Albert Mohler, on the recent string of suicides by gay teens: “Between The Boy and the Bridge: A Haunting Question.”
These suicides make me so sad. What’s worse, this tragedy is perpetrated by those who actually claim to help gays. These young people are told in classrooms that “gay is okay,” but as Tyler’s episode teaches us, other forces in society and forces their own conscience say it’s not okay. They have horribly confused messages thrown at their soul. On the one side religious people giving them harsh condemnation to the worst dungeons without mercy; on the other side being locked inside by “good intentioned” soothsayers whispering if you’re gay you can never change but were “born that way” – with no grace, no hope, and no chance of freedom in between!
Jesus stands in between these slavish voices offering the solution of freedom, obtained by trusting in Him for eternal life after death, and for true quality of life now. Speaking of Jesus, the Bible says “… through him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed [justified, declared right in God’s sight] from all things…” (Acts 13.38b-39a). And further, “For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5.13 NET Bible).
God frees us from the penalty of sins in eternity future, and frees us to walk away from sin in our lives in the present by empowering us and freeing us to serve God and others. This is far better than condemnation to stay where you are, chained by guilt and fear of what ifs and what people may think. I can’t improve on Mohler’s article, from which I’ll quote these paragraphs:
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?
It has been a week now since I had a car accident. It was my first one and kind of a scare, so it has made me think a lot, mostly revolving around two things:
My life is fragile.
My Lord is a good and merciful God.
I was on my way to work last Wednesday on a back-road in Valley Center. The road was wet from a drizzle, which we hadn’t had in a while so the road was slippery from the oil. Going around a curve I slid and lost control of the car. The car skidded sideways into a ditch and somehow flipped over on end and crashed onto a chain-link fence. I climbed out of the car from the back door. I looked at my poor car, nosed in the dirt and lying on a fence with the engine idling (I was coasting) and ran up to a nearby house to call my dad who lived about five miles away. My injuries were minimal, just a cut on my face and a jammed finger (thought I had back and neck pain later). One of my dad’s neighbors, “Bill” happened to drive by and stopped to help, and another gentleman who lived nearby happened to have a backhoe and chains and pulled the car out. It was beat-up, but it still runs and drives. Even all the headlights work even though it nosed into the ground. The door has since been repaired. Other repairs are on hold for now.
God totally saved my life. In the moment I thought I was gonna die and wrap around an oak tree or something. So much could have gone wrong. One of my back-doors doesn’t open – I could have flipped on the other side, so I’d be trapped in there. I could have hit another car. I could have run into a big oak tree nearby. I could have not crashed over the oak saplings that slowed the car down before hitting the fence. The car could have blown up or totaled. I could have died or been seriously injured.
The first self-aware/God-aware thought I had was that God could have killed me – but He didn’t. Through the event itself, God spoke. He proved to me He is not only able to save my life – but does. He’s letting me live on this earth a little longer, until whatever day He plans that I see Him face-to-face. It may sound crazy, but it encouraged me, showing that God must want me alive for some purpose, for further service. My feelings are with the Apostle Paul, who wrote in Philippians 1:21-24
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.