Saturday, January 08, 2011

What would I have said?

Yesterday, my heart broke as I read the suicide note of a young man named Bill Zeller.  Twenty-seven years old, a talented programmer, and a Princeton grad student, but with an inner turmoil so great that he felt the only answer was to end his life,

He emailed this note to his friends early last Sunday morning and then he killed himself.  I can’t remember ever reading a suicide note before, but this one ended up being posted on tech blogs that I frequent so curiosity got the better of me and I decided to read it to find out why he had decided to end his life.

After reading it, I began to wonder what I would have said to him; had I known him, and had I known his intentions.  Considering he expressed resentment towards his parents because they were “fundamentalist” Christians who hated everything, I wonder if he would have given me the time of day.

Now I don’t know his parents so I am not going to comment on their faith, but the following two verses came to me as I read the Bill’s note.

From the book of Matthew Jesus says, “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Bill mentions that he was raped repeatedly as a child.  I would say to him that the guilty party will not go unpunished.  The bible repeatedly states that God is a God of justice, who hears the cries the neglected and abused.

And again from the book of Matthew Jesus says, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”

I would say to Bill that I have met a lot of judgemental Christians as well, but the words of Jesus are clear, leave it to God to judge, for he is God and we are not.  Don’t forsake Jesus because of what man has done, judge Jesus on his own merits.  He invites you to “taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Most importantly I would need to address the root of his turmoil.  The inner darkness as he calls it.

In the book of John Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Now I admit that I have no way of understanding what Bill was experiencing, but I find it interesting that Bill referred to his struggle as one against darkness.  The bible also uses this terminology when it describes the epic battle between good and evil as a battle between light and darkness.

Thankfully the bible doesn’t leave us hopeless and in despair, for there is hope.  The way to combat darkness is by embracing the light.

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