I wasn’t going to touch the Caitlyn Jenner issue. It’s gotten so much hype already, and frankly, I’m pretty sick of seeing the cover of Vanity Fair in my Facebook newsfeed. That has more to do with the fact that I can’t stand hatemongering and judgmental attitudes, often accompanying such pictures, and there’s not much that bores me more than entertainment news. Don’t care – at all.
But oh, the hate! All in the name of Jesus and in what the Bible says and what God likes and wants and blah blah blah. I imagine what Jesus would say to those “him followers” who are spouting off about how terribly wrong Bruce/Caitlyn is. I also imagine what Jesus would say to Caitlyn. This is based on my reading of the teachings and life of Jesus.
First, to Caitlyn: “Caitlyn, I love you. Do you know the Kingdom of God is available to you, too? I forgive you of your sins.” I’m not saying that gender reassignment is sinful, nor am I saying it’s not; that’s not the theme of this post. Jesus forgives all sins, everybody’s sins.
Now, to those Jesus-followers hating and shaming: “You have read what I’ve said, haven’t you? You know, that whole ‘Love one another’ (John 13:34) thing? That was the new command I gave you before I died. What did Caitlyn ever do to you? Has she personally sinned against you by becoming female? Has she threatened your faith, your family, your marriage, your life? If the answer to this question is ‘yes,’ then let’s talk about the much bigger issues you face and let me heal those for you. If the answer to this question is ‘no,’ then what’s the big deal?
“What’s that in your eye? Is that a plank I’m seeing there? If you have such a huge obstruction in your eye, then how in the world can you see the sins of anyone else? Deal with your own failings and shortcomings, then you can confront those of other people. In the meantime, don’t be judgmental of others; though if you insist on judging others, then be prepared for my heavenly Father to judge you just as harshly as you judge them.”
Nowhere does the Bible tell us to judge or condemn others. Nowhere does the Bible condone hate. In fact, the only “I hate” statement attributed to God is in Malachi where God says, “I hate divorce and a man who visits violence on himself (could also be translated as “his wife”).* If God is love, and we are made in the image of God, then how in the world do we as Christ-followers justify calling people names and spouting off hate-filled rhetoric?
God is love. I John 4 tells us “Love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love, does not know God.” Our words and actions need to be living testimonies to the love of God, not just towards our families, our friends, and people like us (“even the Pagans do that,” Jesus says in Matthew 5), but to all people. That’s inclusive; if it can include our enemies, then it can certainly include some athlete-turned-entertainer, a man-turned-woman, who, like most of us, will eventually disappear in the annals of history. Our love, however, will live on to impact others.
* I read this passage in Malachi as God hating the breaking of covenant. The LORD established a covenant with Israel, one which the Israelites broke. Marriage is also considered a covenant, hence, the marriage language to symbolize the everlasting covenant between God and Israel and “divorce” to represent the breaking of that covenant.