The current issue surrounding Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner is one where I think many are looking for Christians to totally mess this one up and add to the list of blunders that we’ve committed over the centuries (though, such blunders are not exclusive to the church, common as they may be). I’ll speak to this briefly and say that for us (the church), truth and love are the two things that must BOTH be communicated, both at this point and going forward. As the church, we must not waiver from the truth of Scripture when answering questions that our children and others might have about Jenner’s gender identity alteration. It is solely our Lord’s place to make any judgment here, and we must follow Christ’s example and show love, whether it would be to Jenner or others whom have (and will) follow in his footsteps. We cannot allow our opinions and convictions here to cause us to withhold love.
On the topic of blunders, we have been looking at times in the New Testament thus far of where followers of Christ (namely Peter) have, whether with good intention or out of zeal, committed some pretty big blunders against their ministry or relationship with Jesus Himself. Though I think most of us would agree that we would place Peter, Paul, and Barnabas in higher positions than we would give ourselves within the church (therefore magnifying their mistakes), we can easily find ways to mess things up just as badly. I’m going to be a little transparent this week and hopefully offer encouragement to some of you; I do hope though that the Holy Spirit convicts if necessary and gets your attention. One of the biggest blunders that I believe we can make as Christians is to fail to spend regular, intentional time in the Word (prayer also should be included here, but it is also a topic that should be covered in its own discussion). This is often mentioned, and our students might tell you that I beat them over the head with this, but if we claim to follow Christ (you know, be a Christian), we have to know what direction He’s heading. We have GOT to be, on our own time and without excuse, in our Bibles. And we need to be looking for Jesus in the process. We see the accounts of His life in the four gospels, and we observe a pattern that we as followers must exhibit (intimacy with the Father through personal and frequent prayer, and bearing the fruit of the Spirit within us, to name a couple). We also must look for His nature exhibited elsewhere in Scripture, to see just what our lives as followers of Christ are supposed to look like. We must truly know Him if we truly wish to identify ourselves as Christians.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will say to them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”
Enter personal transparency. I have served in some form of ministry for roughly 13 years now; I have to admit that early on, I thought I could get by simply by sharing things that I had been taught in church, VBS, and Sunday School, and honestly, I had (at best) a VERY superficial relationship with the Word of God. Brothers and sisters, we cannot follow Christ in this way. To follow someone, you must know whom it is that you are following. My relationship with the Word, and therefore Christ, was lacking greatly, even when I thought that things were good because I was “serving”. The reality is, I wasn’t doing myself, or anyone else, any favors by walking in ignorance of a lot of what God had to say to me and in turn share full truth with those I was attempting to lead.
Again I say to you, “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). Do not commit the blunder of thinking that you’re following the Savior if you are unwilling to seek Him in His Word.