Though death often comes suddenly in accidents and disasters, in the case of a wasting sickness, many forces may have influenced the person while alive and contributed to that final point of death. The ravages of disease, the body’s systems broken down by various abuses, and the mental and emotional stress from people and circumstances all have an impact.
Although it takes a lot of negative input to destroy a human being’s desire to live, to make sense of it all, and be happy, we can finally be overwhelmed by circumstances and relationships. I remember the shock I felt the first time a counselee told us he tried to commit suicide at the age of fourteen! How much he experienced in those few years to make him want to end it all at the time he should have been full of life? Since then, we have met some who have wanted to die even younger.
We can endure a lot of material deprivation and stress if we have loving, supportive relationships to run to as a comfort and refuge. Countless families have held together happily during hard times. But if our relationships are destructive or alienating and we try to find comfort and refuge in other people, activities, or things, it doesn’t work, and it leads to addiction. Addiction is not only idolatry, it is a form of death – it keeps us from a full, open, vulnerable life, and it destroys if not stopped.
Addiction is deadly, and in this ministry we have grieved over the loss of eighteen men to AIDS, three of them this year. We resent this disease and what an insult it is to the life of a young body, what defiance in the face of the Lord of Life. However, thanks be to God, we have the victory, for, although we see the decay and destruction on the mortal level, “He has opened the Heavenly Door and man is blessed forevermore”, as the carol says. What a transcendent treasure we have that puts this brief life into a wonderfully true perspective – we have eternal life, and we can know it!
While we are here, the Lord tells us to be kind and careful with our speech, that words and attitudes can wound and kill, and that we should always love one another. Being aware of our mortality and our responsibility before God, I thought it would help us to look at the factors that impacted a typical man who died of AIDS due to homosexual activity. I will call him Bill, the name of one of my friends who died in his 30’s. Written below are the issues that contributed to his death.
What Killed My Young Friend Bill?
His death began with the oppression and stress his mother felt while she was pregnant with him, affecting him in the womb.
He was wounded by words like “You were an accident, you know – we didn’t want a baby” “We really wanted a girl” “Can’t you do anything right?” “Your mother is spoiling you!” “What are you, a sissy?” “We think you’re queer, and we don’t want to play with you”.
He was injured by the unkind words and indifference of his father.
His death was hastened by the sexual abuse from his athletic older brother that twisted his view of himself and what affections is. After the sustained abuse, he was always attracted to muscular men. (Is this a mystery? Was he born that way?)
He was hurt by those who called him names in school, and by his brother’s insults.
His hopes were killed by insensitive clergy who bluntly told him he was damned if he didn’t stop falling, but didn’t help him.
He was rejected by members of his family who didn’t want him to visit them out of fear for their children’s health.
He was beaten down by the constant lies from his own thoughts and emotions that disputed his worth, even after he was saved.
He was tormented by the Devil that told him he was a failure, he was depraved, and could never change.
He was destroyed by those who lied to him by telling him that homosexuality is normal and he should be free to express it.
He was killed by choosing the sexual activity that seemed to calm his emotions when he was tormented by guilt, self-doubts, and fear, but the sin only added to his inner conflict.
Finally, his death was completed by a deadly virus that entered his body through the way opened by all the previous factors.
His body is dead at the age of 36, but Bill is a child of God and has defeated death. He will be resurrected with a new body into Life, Peace, and Joy because his spirit was brought to life and freed from all the lies, shame, guilt, and sin when he called on his Savior Jesus Christ for salvation. All glory to His name!
It’s MVM-Are You Prepared to Care?
published June 1995
by Ron Highley