Today would have been my brother’s birthday, but it’s also, nearly to the day, the anniversary of his death.
He was another casualty of the sexual revolution.
About the age of 40, my brother became ensnared by a paraphilia. It doesn’t matter which one. To the best of my knowledge (we weren’t close) he had been a typical family man, and he was a respected professional. We shared a room growing up, and during our adolescent years I saw him look at Playboy only one time. Apparently he was exposed to the paraphilia by a colleague through online pornography, and he quickly gave his life over to it. Within a few years it destroyed him.
When his sin was exposed, the police raided his home and seized his computers. He knew his career was over, and he didn’t want his children growing up with the stigma. According to my sister-in-law, he said, “I guess it’s better for everybody if I just disappear.” He went to a hardware store and bought a ladder and a rope.
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I wish he had called me, so I could try to talk him out of it and let him know about the hope available to all of us in Jesus. But he had no interest in calling me. My brother, like many of the people who read BarbWire, had become a mocker of God, full of hatred for religion and believers, including me.
Psalm 1:1: Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers.
Ironically, during college, I had been an atheist and he had been a nominal believer. Once he tried to talk me into going back to Mass, because “it’s a great place to meet girls.”
His attitude toward God changed markedly sometime after college. We didn’t see much of each other for several years, and somewhere along the line he became a scornful, bitter atheist, profoundly ignorant about God and Scripture, yet sublimely confident that he knew all the answers.
A few years after I became an evangelical Christian, we were together again at my grandfather’s funeral. I was looking forward to seeing him, but I had no idea what I was in for. He spent three days incessantly ridiculing me, my faith, and even my girlfriend. Not an hour, rarely even fifteen minutes, went by without another joyously delivered insult. He was still whispering sweet nothings in my ear while we were sitting ten feet from my grandfather’s open casket during the wake, with my grandfather’s legion of friends filing past. He couldn’t control himself, and didn’t want to. It was as if he was possessed by a demon. When I delivered the eulogy and shared the Gospel, his face was a mask of anger and disgust.
I shared the good news with my brother several times over the years, and, as I have done with many BarbWire readers, invited him to examine the evidence that compelled me to move from agnostic to believer. When I showed him David’s detailed prophecy of the crucifixion in Psalm 22, and its fulfillment in the Gospels, my brother couldn’t rationally deny that that a supernatural actor was communicating to us through the Scriptures. So he became irrational. “David was a good guesser,” he spat, and stalked away.
Acknowledging God’s existence would have forced him to acknowledge his own sin and turn to Jesus, which he was too angry and prideful to do. I wonder if he realized there was another supernatural actor driving him away from God and the Bible. If he didn’t know it then, he surely knows it now.
The end of May is a bittersweet time for me. The bitter side is very bitter, but the sweet side is even sweeter.
Tomorrow, May 24, will be my 27th spiritual birthday. At two in the morning, May 24, 1987, after I had studied the evidence for months and several weeks after I finally offered myself to Him, the Lord blessed me with a spiritual experience every bit as overwhelming as Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus. I felt like a baby lying on a pillow of pure love as He wrapped His arms around me. I hope everybody will enjoy the experience of His tangible presence some day. Its memory continues to give me hope even in the most difficult circumstances.
Perhaps one person will read these words, see himself in them, and turn to God. Then my brother will not have died for nothing.
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