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By Maria       #2824 Maria #176 DO 7/92

       1. We are all very saddened & sobered by Ben's death, but right now the best thing to do is to look at what happened to him & see what we can learn from it. In this way, Ben's life can serve a purpose in that we can benefit & grow by avoiding the weaknesses that caused him such unhappiness, & by not making the same mistakes that he did.
       2. Our vicious enemies would point to this one incident & say that it was the fault of the Family, but what about the millions of teens in the System who have committed suicide?--Kids who have no one to talk to, no one to help them, no one to pray with them & for them, no one who even cares what happens to them? Ben had people who loved him, whom he could turn to, who were always there for him & who were continually trying to help him with his problems. And even now, although we are very sad that his young life ended so early, we are comforted by the fact that Jesus can take Ben in His arms, & that now he can see his mistakes much more clearly & experience the Lord's loving hand in his life more directly!
       3. In spite of our enemies' false accusations, it is evident that Ben's suicide was a result of his time out of the Family. He became discontent in the Family, & he thought he could find something that would make him happy outside the Family. However, after only a few months in the System, he was very sadly disappointed, because all of his plans & dreams were totally crushed.
       4. He thought the different circumstances would make him happy, but if the attitude of your heart is unhappy & discontented, no matter how wonderful your circumstances are or how much they are to your liking, you still will not be happy or satisfied. He thought a change of circumstances outside the Family would make him happy, but he found that the problem was himself & the attitude of his own heart & spirit. He thought his circumstances in the Family were what had made him unhappy, but he found sadly that circumstances in the World were much more difficult. He couldn't get the job he wanted, he couldn't make the money he had dreamed of, & he couldn't succeed in making the girls he wanted return his love. Everything had failed him, disintegrated & had become husks.--And he had failed himself, he had failed others, & he had failed the Lord. He failed to find the satisfaction he had hoped for in the World, & he felt there was nothing left for him.
       5. Ben also soon realised he had been treated better in the Family than anywhere else in the World! He also found out what the World was like, but his pride was just too great to allow him to turn around & say he was sorry & ask to come back. Like the Prodigal Son, he was eating husks--he was even seen begging on the streets of Hong Kong for money--but because of his pride & stubbornness he wouldn't repent & say, "I will arise & go to my Father's house & say, `Please take me in'" (Luk.15:10-24).
       6. But when Ben realised that life in the System was not what he expected, when he had no hope of doing or being what he had dreamed of, when he was completely down & out, he did not turn back to the Lord. Instead he chose the only way of escape that he could see. It's like Grandpa said, for some people it's easier to commit suicide than to have to confess & face the humiliation of being wrong. So Ben's suicide was not by any means the fault of the Family, but it was his own choice & the result of his longstanding problems & weaknesses.
       7. Now that Ben is with Jesus, it's a great comfort to know that the Lord can now directly control him, & give him training that he refused to receive from his parents & Shepherds here in this life. We're very sorry that Ben had to be a dandy bad example--in striking contrast to the vast majority of our young people--but we can benefit from seeing the results of his wrong decisions & attitudes over the years, & learn many lessons from his life.
       8. I suppose Jesus' enemies blamed Judas's suicide on Jesus & the time he had spent with Him & the other disciples! If so, what an untrue & biased accusation!--The Word says that Judas saw he had done a terrible thing & felt so guilty for having betrayed an innocent Man, that that was the reason he hung himself. (See Mat.27:3-5.)
       9. Enemies who themselves are working so hard to persecute those who witness & win souls for Jesus, can never be trusted to give a true assessment of those whom they are persecuting. Instead of winning souls & healing & helping others, they are damning souls by destroying & hurting those who are trying to help. They are not only trying to stop us from doing the most wonderful work in the World, but they are not even doing it themselves. What a condemnation & how sad!
       10. You have to remember that if people do accuse the Family, saying that you teens are psychologically or spiritually abused*, then they are not just attacking the Family, they are attacking God's Word, because we live according to the principles set down by Him in the Bible! They are actually attempting to discredit God's Word when they suggest that our way of life causes you teens to have problems.
       11. You could answer such accusations by saying, "Look, if we're damaged by being in the Family, that means that you're saying God's Word & His teachings are damaging!--Because that's what we follow & that's what we live by! How ridiculous! God's Word is not damaging, & that's why we aren't `damaged' in any way! We have chosen to live according to what the Lord has taught us, His children, in the Bible & that's why we are so happy & positive & fulfilled. Sure, we may have problems once in a while, but they are usually very minor compared to the serious problems that many of the teens in the World have!"
       12. Teens who have made a commitment to serve the Lord in the Family love the Lord, & are thankful to be where they are; they are happy & fulfilled. Others who have left the Family have gone back to the System, to school or college or to a job of some kind. This is the only teen that we know of who has left the Family & committed suicide. So the purpose of this TSM is certainly not to use scare tactics, warning you that if you leave the Family, you're going to commit suicide, therefore you'd better not leave the Family!
       13. You probably wouldn't commit suicide, you probably wouldn't end up in a mental institution. You might end up in a Godless college or university!--Or a slave to Mammon! Who knows? God deals with each one differently, & you just have to decide where you prefer to be. If you prefer to be in the System, then you have to take your chances with what you will or will not accomplish there.
       14. God is not forcing you or anybody else to be in this Family! This is a high & holy calling, a great privilege, & you kids are some of the very few teens in the whole World whom the Lord has chosen to be in it! But He will let you have your own way & use your own free will, & you can choose to do whatever you wish! Maybe you can go out into the System & be a success in the eyes of the World! Or maybe if you go out you will not make it because of your guilty conscience & your remorse over leaving God's Work, forsaking your plow (see Luk.9:62). That's up to the Lord & the things He allows to happen in your life.
       15. We don't always see the big picture right away. Sometimes it takes a long time for it to become evident what the Lord is doing with different people's lives or even with our own lives. We may have to wait until we face the Lord to know the things we missed out on, or to see how we got off track & missed His blessing when we could have followed closer. Ben's story is very sad, & it shows how serious & how sobering our personal choices are. Each of us has to "choose this day whom ye will serve!" (Josh.24:15) May the Lord help us to choose to love & serve Him!--Amen? GBY! ILY!--Mama Maria

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