If you live under a rock and decided to come out like right now, then you need to know Bruce Jenner is now a woman. And her name is Caitlyn. Maybe you need to take a minute to process that piece of information. Go right ahead.
So, now you want answers right? You want to know how to respond to your children. You want to know what you should say when your friends bring it up in conversation.
As I process what I know about Bruce Jenner (which is not much), I end up in the same place. Confused. I know what American Christian culture tells me say. “Bruce Jenner is not a woman and transgenderism is a sin. Period. Tell your readers, Frank. Tell them.”
And here lies a problem with being a minister and church leader. I feel the weight of making the politically correct statement. And the weight is heavy. At times, it’s too much to bear. There are severe penalties for not saying the “right” thing. It ultimately cost Jesus his life.
The Pharisees wanted Jesus to conform to their image of him. They wanted Him to be the ultimate Pharisee. The all-star of all-stars. But Jesus refused. It wasn’t that He was rebelling against the Pharisees. That would be quite childish of someone who created the universe.
Jesus was fighting. He was pushing back against the schemes of the evil one. He always has been. You see, Jesus understood something the Pharisees (and most everyone) did not. The war God’s people fight is not against flesh and blood. Paul would say this explicitly in Ephesians 6 several years after Jesus’s departure. But Paul only put into words what Jesus modeled.
Jesus fought the same war Christians fight today. But he didn’t fight people. He fought Satan. And Jesus didn’t fight with knowledge or correct doctrines. He fought with love. This is where many Christians get it wrong. Starting with me. We fight against people. And here’s the thing. If that person is on our team, we defend them (i.e. Josh Duggar). If not, we fiercely fight back against them (i.e. Bruce Jenner).
But Jesus didn’t draw lines in the sand based on beliefs, knowledge, and doctrines.
Jesus did, however, draw lines in the sand. In John 8, the Pharisees were ready to fight. This time a woman caught in adultery was the enemy. And Jesus found himself in the middle…drawing lines in the sand. Ironic? I think not.
[tweet_box design=”default”]The war isn’t fought with words and doctrines. It is fought with love.[/tweet_box]
We, Christians, tend to think the war can be won with stones, words, and correct application of Scripture. We believe everyone must pick a side on every issue. So, we ask questions and interrogate until everyone has a team.
“Are you supporting Bruce Jenner? Would you really have a cup of coffee with him? Well, we know what team you are on.”
Jesus, meanwhile, stood in the middle. He refused to take a side. The only perfect one. The only person worthy of throwing a stone stood in the middle. What a powerful contrast between the heart of man and the heart of God!
Back to the story in John 8. Jesus, instead of standing beside the Pharisees and pelting this adulteress woman with stones (as the law says she deserves), he delivered the Pharisees a different kind of stone.
“Let any of you who is without sin throw the first stone at her.” (John 8:7)
What the what? Jesus didn’t stop there. He then turned his attention to the adulteress woman. The one who was guilty.
“Woman, has no one condemned you?…Then neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11)
Jesus, you are supposed to condemn her? You are supposed to give her your two cents. And your two cents will actually be the right advice. You are the son of God. C’mon man. Tell her she is an adulteress and her sin is repulsive to God. Tell her, Jesus.
“I do not condemn her.”
Wait. That’s it? You are minimizing the law, Jesus. You are abusing grace. This woman deserves punishment. You can’t just let her off the hook.
“I do not condemn her.”
You will have to answer to God for this, Jesus. And I wouldn’t want to be known as the guy who refused to carry out the commands of the law.
What did you say, Jesus? You are God?…Yeah, you’re right.
The reality is Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn the world. He said so himself. John 3:17. So, if Jesus’s arrival on earth wasn’t motivated by condemnation and judgment, what was it motivated by?
Love. Godly love. John 3:16.
Satan is the Accuser. The Condemner. And you fight condemnation with…wait for it…love.
Love tells an adulteress woman she is free to leave. Love frustrates religious fundamentalists. Love welcomes prostitutes.
Love angers the elite and puzzles the marginalized. It is scandalous. It doesn’t have boundaries. And yes, love rebukes. It even turns over tables. But love never throws stones. Never.
[tweet_box design=”default”]Love frustrates the elite and puzzles the marginalized. But it never throws stones. Never.[/tweet_box]
Jesus’s life was characterized by love because he knew the war could only be won with love. The war wasn’t against flesh and blood. It never has been.
So, what is a Christian to do with Bruce (or Caitlyn) Jenner? Transgenderism, homosexuality, and sex before marriage aren’t issues that are going away.
We put down our stones.
And, I know, you don’t like my response. You want something more definitive, more “Scripturally correct.”
But I won’t go there. You can find someone else who will, if that’s your real desire. Plenty of voices who will affirm your way of seeing the world.
Instead, I want to ask: What does love require?
You can condemn. You can get angry and blame the President or the culture or whatever.
But I do know this…God loves Bruce (or Caitlyn) Jenner. The Bible tells me so.
And if God loves Bruce (or Caitlyn) Jenner, so do I.
I am putting down my stone. Maybe you should too. Love does a lot of things. But it never throws stones. Because the war God’s people fight is not against flesh and blood.
What do you think? Leave a comment below. Please keep the conversation seasoned with grace and free of stones.
I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!