There’s a really sweet kid I want you to meet. His name is Sam. He’s 15 years old and the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. Tall, lanky, big blue eyes, a splash of freckles, light brown hair that used to be longish and flop over his eyes, but then he got it cut, and it’s adorable and makes him look 12.
He’s the kind of kid who loves to read and hold babies, and he’s learning how to play the guitar. He grew up in the church and loves Jesus, spends a lot of time reading his Bible, and has a heart for those who feel left out, something that’s kind of uncommon among boys his age.
He’s exactly the kind of boy I’d like one of my daughters to marry someday.
But Sam has a secret.
Ever since he was nine years old, he has known something he can never tell another soul. He’s gay. He’s attracted to other boys, not girls.
And, no matter how much he prays and pleads with God to take this away and make him “normal,” nothing changes. He knows God is there; he’s answering other prayers–just not this one. Never this one.
And the older Sam gets, the more he realizes that loving Jesus and being gay are two things that can never, ever go together. All the Christians in his life have told him as much. Oh, they’re not speaking about him directly (how could they be? they have no idea he’s gay.), but when they talk about how wicked homosexuals are, he knows it means him too.
He sits at the dinner table many nights (his parents very much value the lost art of eating dinner as a family) and listens to his mom and dad say things like, “I am so tired of the homosexual agenda in this country. It’s ruining families! Homosexuality is the most perverse sin on this planet, and people are trying to normalize it. What’s next–making incest okay and having sex with animals?? Our country is going to hell in a hand basket, and all because we’ve given ourselves over to wickedness!”
Each time this topic comes up (and it’s been a lot lately), Sam silently chews his food while his stomach threatens to revolt.
And each time he wilts a little more inside.
One evening, the topic is raised yet again, and his dad says, “I really feel like I’m supposed to fight the evil of homosexuality in some practical way, something beyond my Facebook posts. Like a protest, picketing, I don’t know, something. As a Christian, I can’t just sit back and let those people take over our God-fearing nation.”
And then a surprising thing happens. Sam speaks up for the first time ever, his insides in a giant knot.
“Aren’t we supposed to love people?”
“Of course we are. I do love people. I love everyone. Gay people included. But, as Jesus said, ‘Love the sinner; hate the sin.'”
“I don’t think Jesus ever said that.”
“Sure he did,” Sam’s mom pipes up. “And the way you love gay people is to love them enough to tell them they’re headed for hell if they don’t turn from their evil ways.”
“What if they were born gay, and they’ve never done anything evil?”
“Born gay?” Sam’s dad says, shaking his head. “Son, you and I both know that’s bull crap. You can’t be born gay any more than you can be born with purple hair. It’s a choice. And it’s a sin. One of the worst ones at that.”
Sam swallows hard. “What would you do if one of your brothers told you he was gay?”
“Ha! Are you kidding me? My brothers are two of the most manly guys I know. Besides, they’re both married. And Christians.”
“Then, hypothetically, I would prove I love him by demanding he repent of his sins, turn from his wicked ways, and go back to being straight.”
“And if he can’t?”
“You mean if he won’t? Then I disown him. He’ll be dead to me. Blood relative or not, God comes first. I’m not about to appear before him on Judgment Day knowing I condoned gross sin in someone’s life. It’s my Christian duty to point out sin when I see it. That’s why Jesus died, Sam.”
One month later, Sam writes a good-bye note to his mom, dad, and little sister. He thinks about telling them why he’s doing it, but he doesn’t want to make their pain worse by adding another layer of shame to it.
Mom, Dad, and Sarah, I love you so much. Please don’t be sad. I’ll see you in heaven. All my love, Sam.
He prays one last time that he really will see them in heaven, that God will forgive the double-whammy of being gay and committing suicide and let him in.
And then he pulls the trigger.