Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Between the Boy and the Bridge — A Haunting Question

I am haunted by the one question that seems so obvious and clear in the account of Tyler Clementi’s tragic death. In those days of crushing anguish, humiliation, and confusion, was there no one who could have stood between that boy and that bridge?

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
Monday, October 4, 2010

By all accounts Tyler Clementi was an 18-year-old young man who was excited to be a freshman in college, gifted as a violinist, and looking forward to the future. All that changed last week when he walked out onto the massive George Washington Bridge that connects New York with New Jersey and jumped 200 feet to his death.

The last few days of Tyler Clementi’s life were a cauldron of confusions. Over the course of three days, he learned that his roommate at Rutgers University, also age 18, had surreptitiously turned a webcam toward his bed, filming him in a romantic encounter with another male student. The roommate employed social media to inform friends of the event, turning what Tyler Clementi assumed was a private moment into a devastating public disclosure. Click here to read full story.


After reading this story, I am also haunted by the same question that Dr. Mohler had.  In those days of crushing anguish, humiliation, and confusion, was there no one who could have stood between Tyler Clementi and that bridge?

I ask you the same question that Dr. Mohler posed too his readers. 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?


MTJ said...

Hi Lloyd,

Thanks for sharing this aritcle by Dr. Mohler; I found it to be compassionate, honest and understanding. He's right, we all struggle with identity and sexuality in our youth. It is unfortunate that Tyler's private life was exposed in a publicly, embarrassing way.

Too often when looking at the life and behavior of another we forget the grace God extends to us. This results in a elevated mentality that says, "I'm not like you!"

May we all discover the depth and true meaning of God's forgiveness and grace. There remain others just like Tyler, Asher, Billy and Seth. Someone will need to stand between them and the bridge that looms ahead.

Blessings and peace.


Stellar said...

Thank you for posting this. I really don't understand how people look at homosexuality in a terrible light, yet don't even think twice when presented with premarital sex or other sins.

This poor young man felt so lost and confused, and had no one to turn to. What a sad, heartbreaking story. When I watched a video about Tyler, I cried my eyes out. He wasn't a bad person. He was a sinner, just like you and me. He meant no harm to anyone. God blessed him with a beautiful musical talent, and he shined. It's so sad that this happened to him, and how disgusting it was for his roommate to film that. Horrible!!

dfish said...

In far too many churches, either his sin would have been ignored, leaving him with the load of guilt, or he would have been ostracized and as you mentioned made the victim of self righteous attacks.

Too often we have failed to realize our sin is just as bad. We are saved because God forgave it when we repented, and he will do the same for any sexual sin.

Thanks for your approach to the problem.

Terry said...

Hi Lloyd,
Thank you for inviting me over. I am a follower.

Such a sad story, there is way to much of this happening and I don't have any answers. Thank you for posting.

RCUBEs said...

Believers or not, people are quick to judge. That's the truth, yet they don't see their own wrongdoings. This was a sad story. I pray God's comfort will cover this young man's life. Blessings.

Judy said...

Hi Lloyd,

This was in fact an incredibly tragic story. Heartbreaking! I don't know what my church would have done. Had it known of his anguish and torment in the days leading up to his death, someone would have reached out to him I'm sure. But it's possible no one knew of his torment. If I'm correct, I think he was hiding his homosexuality, so maybe no one knew beforehand. And he was just too humiliated to face anyone about it. I don't know. But to film something like that was incredibly cruel. I'm at a loss for words. I told my 15-year-old son he better not ever take part in anything like that or take part in any bullying. It is not right under any circumstances!


Arts&Disability said...

In fact, Lloyd - this really is what it is all about. Sin is sin.Even he was uncomfortable with it as each of us are uncomfortable with aspects of our lives at all times.....No one can ever throw the first stone, simply said.

What you posted last week on adultery & divorce... really similar.

We need to BE THERE for the wounded, the doubtful, the disturbed, the disenfranchised.

Our Lord is there.

I found ( by accident last night)
a website... which is in fact a fraudulent one against Christ.... But - as I was not "fooled" ... I just, however, was sad. Later, I realized what a mockery they are and of the ilk they belong.

The point is.... what I now find the MOST SAD! ... is that I truly thought at first it was the typical LOST Christian.. in the churches now... who really only parody our Lord...

We appreciate that you addressed this, Lloyd.. and are REAL! We need this so much. It is, in fact, how I became born-again 42 years ago! Praise God!
Love in our Lord... & God Bless You!,
His Sonshine

Word in the Hand said...

It is seems that many of us still feel entitled to throw stones at others whilst being blind to our own failings. There is nothing of the Gospel in this actions. Eternal Rest grant unto him.

GOD thinker said...

Very important post. We are all priests. We are all supposed to stand in the gap bewtween God and man, offering God's promises to the lost and hurting. Sometimes we are scared to get involved, we just don't know, or we really don't want to see. I pray more and more of us see, get involved, and stand in the gap. This truly was a tragedy. We can't stop every tragedy, but I bet we can stop some.

covnitkepr1 said...

As tragic as this situation was and is, I'm really surprized that no commentor so far has mentioned the fact that God has already told the church how to handle this situation. Corinthians chapter 5 tells us God's way of dealing with any sexual immorality that occurs in His church.

Gorges Smythe said...

I think your question ties into a subject raised in some other blog recently - the loneliness of many of our youth. Despite constant motion, video games, email, cell phones, texting, tweeting, Facebook and so on, they have few if any face-to-face, heart-to-heart friends.

misslynda said...

You would have thought that with the Facebook posting, someone would have tried to stop him - - - too sad.

Thandi said...

Oh no.I hadn't read any report about this.How devastating for him.To hae such a private moment broadcast like that.I wish people would think twice before they did such terrible and embarassing acts. i know that if someone had recorded me, I'd also want to hide from the world permanently.How devastated he must have been :( Man, I'm so sad about this.I am very sure that acts of homosexuality are wrong.But it certainly doesn't mean I would label a practising homosexual as any worse than the cashier who lies a lot.i've been in touch with a lesbian who has vowed to remain celibate and I applaud her.I know others who are living together and admit that they believe the Bible condemns their lifestyle but they'd rather be together.They've stopped going to church because they say they wouldn't feel right about going into a holy place knowing full well they are sinning against God.Coming out to us was difficult, in fact, I ended up 'pushing' the truth out of one of them because they knew how religious we were,yet I knew that hiding it wouldn't make them comfortable around us. But once the truth was out,what a relief it was to them not to hide anymore.The aunt was upset,very religious woman,but she is now over it.She told them she never wanted to see them,now she sews clothes for them.Point is,I wish this wan't the route this young man felt he had to take.More importantly, I wish the one who recorded them and then let the video be seen,had never done such a disgusting and foolish thing.may he forgive himself for the part he has played in this young man's suicide.

The Problem with Religion said...

Thanks for this.

A sad and sorry tale.

The real problem is that there is a belief there is such a thing as a gradation of sin. If we state God is Holy and we are sinful, we cannot then decide we are LESS sinful than someone else (to do so denotes pride and self-conceit). Indeed I would go as far as to say, often the things WE think God is bothered about are often the things WE don’t like about ourselves (which is of course a kind of self love and self idolatry); God might have some very different ideas about what is wrong with us and what needs to change in our lives...

That said it was a revolting act, on the part of the voyeur – and if there was one person whom I think has problems with his sexuality it is the voyeur and not the person who jumped.

Both for you and I, Lloyd, suicide is a very personal and sensitive subject (I lost my nephew this time two years ago, he hung himself aged 30 – because my sister is much older than I, there were less years between my nephew and I than between my brother and I – hence we grew up together and until his latter years were quite close). I have also lost a close friend to suicide. Hence we know that there is also a kind a violence in this poor young man’s actions.

No one wins in a sorry tale such as this.

Thanks for sharing this.


AndHe said...

I'm very grateful that you posted this story Lloyd.It's very sad when someone takes their life;it's traggic.God bless you.
The poor parents and loved ones.That poor young man must have felt so alone and devastated.
My daughter turned 32 this passed August.She has had many depression problems over the years.She recently said to me,"dad I remember when I was a teenager you told me if I ever thought of hurting myself, I should think of all the ones that love me."The ones I would leave behind wondering why."
Thanks Lloyd,you made my day.

Lloyd said...

MTJ - Thank you for your visit. You are right on the mark when you say that sometimes we have this ""I'm not like you!" mentality. I pray daily that I am able to love and bring comfort to other folks that are hurting and in the need of a Savior without being judgmental. Blessings.

Stellar - A sin is a sin in God's eyes. As believers in Christ we must all remember that even though we hate sin, we must show love and compassion to the sinner. God bless you and thanks for your visit and comments.

dfish - Thank you for your words of wisdom. I thank God daily for the grace and mercy that He has given to me. Blessings my friend in Christ.

Terry and RCUBE's - Even though we cannot be responsible for another person's actions it doesn't make it any easier. This is very sad and tragic story that may have been prevented. I too am praying for this young man's family who are probably devastated about the loss of their son. God bless.

Judy - This is very heartbreaking and sad because even though this young man felt that he had to take his own life, the true victims are the loved ones that are left behind trying to find the answers to the question "WHY?"

Arts&amp - You are right that sin is sin... We have all sinned and fallen short of God's glory. I remember back as a young boy, probably around 15-16 years old, I became very depressed about life in general and considered suicide. But my mom was there at the right time to let me know how much I was loved and that things would get better with time. As believers in Christ we must always be ready to give love and comfort to the hurting world but always under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God bless.

Word in the Hand - Thank you for your visit and comments. Blessings too you.

GOD thinker - We all need God's help when it comes to reaching out to the lost souls of this world. You are right that we cannot stop all tragedies and it would become such a burden if God expected that from His children. But just being the light and salt of this world and being there for someone who is hurting is all our Lord and Savior is asking us to do. Blessings to you my sister in Christ.

Stan - Thank you my friend for the Bible reference on sexual immorality. I think that most would agree that if this young man was a member of their church that they would have probably followed what the Word of God had to say about dealing with this sin. dfish was right on the mark with his comments. God bless you.

Gorges - I think you are right that now-a-day's people are so wrapped up in the "electronic world" that they no longer have a true and loving friend that they can confide in. Even the "family" structure is deteriorating to a point where communications between parents and children are only a few minutes a day, if that. Blessings.

misslynda - It seems like this young man's FB entry would have set off some "red flags" but apparently his friends didn't pick up on it. I am sure more details will come out after a complete investigation is done by the police. Blessings.

Thandi - Thank you for your visit and comments. Suicide is always very devastating and tragic to the friends and families that such a misguided soul leaves behind. We can only pray for the family to give them the courage and peace that only Jesus can bring during times like these. Blessings.

The Problem - Thank you for the visit and concerned comments. I have to agree with what you are saying. I am so sorry about the loss of your nephew and close friend to suicide. My prayers go out to you and your family. It seems that even though I know that I cannot control another person's action regarding whether to end their life... I still find myself feeling guilty because I wasn't there when I was needed most. Blessings to you my friend.

Amrita said...

A very sad story but it illustrates the wages of sin.
he boy was guilty of wha t he was doing. I could not bear his shame.

Maybe someone should hav e helped him

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

This is a terrible tragedy. That boy needed comfort and assurance, not shame and humiliation. None of us is without sin.

Shoshi said...

How very, very sad... There WAS someone between this young man and the bridge, had he not considered it - JESUS. "And underneath are the everlasting arms." How often the Church gets in the way of Jesus. I know many people who have left churches, or who don't go, because of people, and they equate this with Jesus.

Every time we sin, there is a webcam watching us. It is the Lord's webcam. He sees everything. He doesn't broadcast it to the world, though. When we repent, he deletes it.

One Heart said...

Oh my goodness, this one is so profoundly tragic. I cannot begin to imagine the pain of his loved ones. Another opportunity for us to pray.

Dean Spencer said...

Lloyd -

My heart breaks for these four boys. I have recently recognized my own hypocrisy when in the past I have pointed my finger at homosexuals and shook my head in disgust.

Christians have a tendency, as Dr. Mohler said, to treat homosexuality "as a particular class of especially depraved sinners and we lie about how homosexuals experience their own struggle."

One thing Christians need to realize is that without Christ, people are dead to sin. This is not to excuse immoral behavior, but we need to understand that until they accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, they're not going to have the power to be free from their depravity.

Truth be told, Christians have enough trouble to live godly lives, and that's WITH the power of the Holy Spirit. Christians need to find the compassion to meet sinners where they are.

Like my pastor once said, "For the Christian this world is the worst they'll ever know. For the unbeliever, this world is the best they'll ever know." God help us if we as Christians are so unwilling and unable to love others like Tyler, Asher, Billy, and Seth and offer them the only hope this world will ever know...Jesus Christ!

Thank you for sharing this Lloyd! God bless!