Yesterday, 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn killed herself. She was a transgender girl who walked out in front of a semi-truck. After reading the suicide letter she left behind on Tumblr, I felt like I had to do something.
The way she was treated by Christians was a theme in her letter. She ended her letter by saying, “My death needs to mean something.” She also asked that we “fix society.” This blog is an attempt to honor those words. They are solely my opinions and thoughts.
I want to focus on what we as Christians can learn from this tragedy. Leelah was a person who was treated like a second-class citizen because she was different. Christians, we have to do better. I’m sad to say that in some churches hate and discrimination are alive and well. There are churches that don’t welcome members of different races, members of the LGBT community, or those with lower income levels. This list could go on and on. Discrimination and hate are sins!
We have to stop labeling anyone different from us as someone who isn’t loved by God. One of the first verses we learn as Christian children is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” If we truly believed this we won’t spent most of our time pointing out reasons God doesn’t love certain people. God loves everyone regardless of their race, gender, orientation, or income level.
Discrimination and hate are pushing people away from God. I know because I used to be one of those people. I’ve had ministers and Christians tell me I wasn’t worthy to be a minister because I’m a woman. They kept telling me they were speaking for God. It caused me to walk away from God for a while. When you claim it’s OK to hate certain groups of people because God tells you to, you clearly don’t know who God is. God is love! God has a desire to be in relationship with all of us. That’s why he sent Jesus to save the whole world and not just the worthy. I’m tired of seeing people pushed away from God.
If you are a Christian I beg you to think about the way your words and actions impact others. You have the power to either help someone find a relationship with God or to push them away for good. The greatest commandments are to love God with everything we have and to love others as much as you love yourself. Let’s start loving.
If you have ever felt hate or discrimination from Christians, I’m sorry. I want you to know that God loves you and you are worthy regardless of what anyone has told you. I want you to know that you are not alone. If you are feeling depressed or suicidal reach out and find someone to talk to. You are valuable and the world needs you to make us better.
Lastly, let’s all pray for those who knew Leelah. They are all hurting because of her death. Let’s pray they will find understanding, love, and comfort. Let’s be about the business of making the world a better place.