I was especially saddened to hear that her journal was full of comments about her peers teasing and bullying her, and that some of those peers were professing Christians.
Those Christian kids have many of the same problems people of other belief systems have. And yet, my hope is always that Christians imitate the life and teaching of Jesus who lived his life as an offering of love to all people. Jesus would have reached out to the "Gothics," and maybe even felt more comfortable with them than with those so-called believers who show bigotry and cruelty in their actions and lifestyle.
Obviously, Tempest was a troubled teen. Hundreds of other Gothic dressers who read about Wicca don't choose to kill themselves. There is a story behind her story, and we may never know all that drove this precious young woman to decide that taking her life was the answer to her pain.
But there is never an excuse for the cruelty these students showed to Tempest. When someone takes his or her life, those around the person take some of the blame. At Tempest's memorial service, students who had teased her were present and grieved their decision to bring pain to her life. In a real sense, we all feel a bit responsible when we hear of another person hurting so much that the only way out he or she sees is death.
When the great Hindu Mahatma Gandhi was studying law in South Africa, he was intrigued by the person of Jesus Christ. Gandhi loved the Sermon on the Mount and thought it to be one of the strongest messages ever given. He loved the life and ministry of Jesus; it was the followers of Jesus he had problems with.
Gandhi once chided Christians, saying, "In my judgement the Christian faith does not lend itself to much preaching or talking. It is best propagated by living it and applying it. When will you Christians really crown Jesus Christ as Prince of Peace and proclaim Him through your deeds as the champion of the poor and oppressed?" In many ways, Gandhi was right. Some Christians throughout the centuries have been responsible for very unloving and intolerable acts of violence and prejudice.