The Internet, water cooler, social media, and dinner table are full of conversation and debate and argument surrounding the revealing of Caitlyn Jenner in Vanity Fair magazine. I want to take a moment and speak directly to my church, Sunnyside Baptist, and to any other Christian willing to listen to my thoughts on how I want my church to respond to Bruce Jenner introducing the world to Caitlyn and other similar situations.
First, do not attack. Do not hate. Do not persecute. Do not mock. Do not make jokes. Do not put down. Do not scowl.
Let me inform you Christian of some truth. When you were born, you were alienated from God, God’s will, and God’s desire for your life. Psalms 51:5, Colossians 1:21, Romans 3:23, Ephesians 2:2-3, Proverbs 22:15, Genesis 8:21…do I need to go on? Do not think for one second that the issue of alienation or sin in another’s life, including the LGBT community, is in any way, shape, or form, worse than the alienation and sin from which you suffered before Jesus entered your life.
When we see non-Christians embrace their various lifestyles that conflict with the morals taught and held by Jesus and shared in God’s word, do not be shocked. Do not be angered. They are alienated by birth in this world, as we all are. They are desperately trying to get rid of their alienation, so instead of running from their alienation, they are embracing it.
Again, the only difference between a true follower of Christ and people like Caitlyn Jenner is that we turned to Jesus to bring us to a new birth and create our soul a new, John 3:5-18, 2 Corinthians 5:17. This new birth is one of belonging. This new birth is one without alienation. This new birth connects us to God and God’s family. Sure we still struggle with sin and temptation, but after our new birth, we belong and are accepted by God. Belonging and acceptance is what, Caitlyn Jenner and so many are searching and longing for.
But instead of sharing the path to new birth, instead of sharing the gift of God’s acceptance through Christ, we ridicule these “sinners” for ruining the moral fabric of our community. That is sin. That is hypocrisy, and that heart, will be a cancer eating away the church.
What if the person who led you to Jesus, ridiculed you, instead of loved you? Would you be a Christian today? Has anyone followed Jesus because of ridicule?
What should we do instead? Protect, love , show compassion, listen to, lift up, and smile, which all point to the gospel better than negative responses. By the way, you can do all of those things without compromising God’s Word. Jesus did it all the time. He protected the woman with the issue of blood that broke Old Testament Law by touching him, Luke 8. He cared for and showed compassion to the Woman at the Well, John 4. He smiled and lifted up Zacchaeus, Luke 19. We could go on and on with Jesus’ examples. Jesus did so without compromising God’s word.
When we come across a Caitlyn Jenner or someone similar whether it is from the LGBT community, an alcoholic, an abuser, child molester, atheist God hater, an ACLU member wanting to remove the 10 commandment from somewhere, do remember what you were, when you were alienated from God. You were vile, but you found a savior.
See these people who are embracing their alienation from God as people who need rebirth. People who God loves. People whom Jesus died for. People whom Jesus would share a meal. People who need to belong, and you can give them that place. People who are precious. People who are of worth and value to God. People that we should share the love, forgiveness, shame removal, new life giving power of Jesus Christ.
I will argue as long as I have breath a Christian angrily condemning these people instead of lovingly sharing God’s love for them is committing a bigger sin than anything Caitlyn Jenner has done because we should know better.
We have an incredible opportunity, church, to open our arms and offer the love, acceptance, and a place to belong to so many people who are desperately searching for these. As Jesus says in John 4:35, “Open your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ready for harvest.” (HCSB). If we scream you’re evil, you’re destroying the family, you’re this or that, the time to fill God’s storehouses will pass.
Remember your alienation from God, and use that as motivation to lovingly share with others the awesome life changing and accepting power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Amen, Preacher Jesse