“We’ll be known for our opinions, but remembered for our love.” Bob Goff
Today I am proud of many people on many of my social media timelines. While I know that sharing an article takes minimal effort, I think it can have a ripple effect. It can open up the doors for other to be honest and give people a space to be free.
This blog is going to be about Caitlyn Jenner. And before you feel angry with me or disagree with me, I just want a few minutes of your time. Just a few.
Step away for just one moment. Step away from this idea that we all must cheer on what we’re against all the time. Many people know what you’re against with you even telling them. Soften your heart, come off the defensive, and hear me out. Just step away for one moment.
Look at the world around you. I want you to picture Caitlyn Jenner is standing right in front of you. She’s tired, she’s sore, she’s broken – she’s spent many years believing she wasn’t the person she was meant to be. She explains to you the years of secrecy, the pain, and the need to just want to feel normal. I imagine tears are present now or maybe just a twinge in her voice.
She doesn’t ask you to understand, she knows that her truth is hers and not yours. That’s fair for both of you. But she just asks for a hug. She asks that you stop looking at her as a label, whatever that might be to you – transgender, sinner, whatever – and simply look at her as a person. She’s taken a beating lately in the media and she’s not trying to upset anyone. She’s just trying to be herself.
She doesn’t even ask for your support. She just asks that you be kind. That you love her the way Christ loves you. He met you in your brokenness and in your pain and she asks that you do the same for her.
I know that it’s easy to separate a person from a label. That you would so much rather look at Caitlyn as some misguided person that you don’t agree with but maybe for one moment you could look at her as a human, maybe even as a friend? Maybe you could listen to her tell her to story instead of trying to make one up for her.
In scripture we read, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them” – He created us in His image. He didn’t say He created some people in the image of Himself and some in the image of something or someone else.
And I know what you may be thinking, that God made Bruce in His image, not Caitlyn. But that seems inaccurate to me. Because Caitlyn was always there. She was always a part of Bruce’s story. Her soul is what was made in the image of God. We don’t reflect God in our arms or our legs or by wearing a dress or by wearing pants. People of all colors are made in the image of God so by focusing on the physical character of God (of which we have no evidence – for example, what color is God’s hair? Does He even have hair?), we miss out on what that passage is really saying. We reflect God when we are loving, respectful, compassionate, and creative. Do those things change now that Bruce is Caitlyn?
And you can argue that Caitlyn chose to be transgender and therefore was made in the image of God but then chose a life of sin. But you can’t really know, can you? And does her choosing sin suddenly un-make her in the image of God? When you have sinned, are you now unloved by Christ? Do you deserve to be treated with hate & judgement by those who don’t see themselves as sinful? Because even if someone doesn’t see themselves as sinful, we all are.
You are allowed to disagree with the LGBTQ community. That’s fair. That’s your opinion and your right. But disagreeing with someone is just that, disagreement. It doesn’t have to be a war or even a fight. Disagreement could lead to knowledge. We can learn so much about one another when we stop and listen to them.
And also know that I am not asking you to understand and support and cheer Caitlyn on. I am asking you to just wait. Just step back for a second and think about how you can look more like Christ. What is more Christ like? Deeming someone unworthy of living? Or showing them grace in love?
In the New Testament we go on to read of God’s unconditional love. The love that He says is the most important. He sees love as so important that He commands us to love our God with all our heart and then love our neighbor as yourself.
God commands that we love people in the way that we love ourselves. That doesn’t mean people who agree with us or people who are Christian or people who make sense to us.
It means everyone.
The story of the Good Samaritan is what this reminds me of.
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10:25-37 (NIV)
The Samaritans were a despised people in Biblical times. They worshipped multiple gods and didn’t act in accordance with Jewish law. For Christ to use a Samaritan to represent mercy in this moment is monumental. He wanted His followers to see something. That you don’t have to agree with someone to show them love, mercy, and kindness. He wanted to show them that even if there was someone that you despised because of your disagreement, that is still not a precedence for anything but LOVE.
How beautiful that Jesus could have just displayed a moment where the Samaritan was “nice” to this beaten man. But it was so much more than that. The Samaritan took care of him, fed him, and loved him. He had mercy on him where there was nothing for him to gain in that moment.
The one who had mercy on him. Go and do likewise.
If you are a Christian, this is your Samaritan moment. This is your moment to truly reflect Christ in the most humble way. To show the world that hate doesn’t have to win, that LOVE WINS. That we can walk alongside someone and hug them and take care of them – regardless of whether or not we agree with him.
What a more beautiful picture of Christ we could be.
Christ died loving the people who hated Him. What a moment. To have soldiers claiming you mean nothing and using your last breaths to fight for them.
I hope that if I died tomorrow, my last breaths would be spent fighting for love.
Thanks for reading,