The Church: When it Leads People to Suicide

We are all equal as living, breathing humans. We are all of us, equally, God’s children. The gospel – which preaches humility and loving the outcast and not judging – is a castle made of sand if it is causing harm. And the gospel has led plenty of mentally ill and LGBT folks to suicide even.

St. Paul wrote in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” How sad it is that people who do not conform to the ways of the “world” learn to hate themselves for it, and often through the church and the body of Christ.

People who do not conform to this world and who suffer teach all of us, especially Christians who are eager to fit in, a good deal. Because they remind us of the fate of Jesus. Because they resemble him as outcasts crucified for bringing into the world an inconvenient truth: the reality of their existence.

I have learned a great deal about living with a stigmatizing illness that cannot be cured from my LGBT friends, who over the years have expressed that, though it was not their choice to be LGBT, people often treated them as if it had been. For my Christian LGBT friends, they become immoral in the eyes of fellow Christians for living out the way that God created them, and they suffer accordingly for it.

We do well to do as my friends do who understand their persecutors with compassion rather feeling shame or anger. I personally try to remember that before I began to suffer with mental ill health I thought that mentally ill people were either dangerous, half-human, homeless, or other things that are unflattering. And my LGBT friends who grew up in the conservative church often prayed every hour that God would make them straight. If they had not experienced the profound pain and isolation of being gay in a conservative church, they would have judged gay people very harshly themselves.

If you are LGBT and in a dark place, don’t hurt yourself; instead get help, and consider clicking on the following link to the “It Gets Better” website for more resources:

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