I know what you’re thinking, and no this is not about the Black Eyed Peas song that we all secretly enjoy listening to, but would never admit to our friends that we still listen to Black Eyed Peas (No? Just me?). I know what else you’re thinking, and yes, this is my first blog post in almost a year. It’s definitely unacceptable to call myself a blogger, but only blog twice a year (and to listen to Black Eyed Peas)… I get that, but if we can, let’s put that away for a sec.
There is an issue I want to talk about. Not because I have anything important or valuable to say, but because it’s a relevant issue that I think we all need to think about. I don’t keep up with the news as much as I should, I’ll admit, but even those of us who don’t stay up-to-date have read or heard about Caitlyn Jenner. Before you stop reading, don’t worry, this isn’t a blog about that in particular I promise. We’ve read enough of those. Thinking about all I have heard and read about that, culminated with something I saw today, has me ranting.
As I was driving home today I saw a few of those billboards. When I say those billboards I’m talking about the ones that say things like “Judgement is Coming”, “Are you going to Heaven or Hell?”, “Repent, or face the wrath of God”, or something along those lines. If you’re from the south (or have driven from Tyler, Texas to Fayetteville, Arkansas) you know what I’m talking about. For whatever reason I was irked by this. I’m all for proclaiming our faith on billboards… but not like this.
For whatever weird reason, that’s when I thought about Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner. Is this the approach we as believers take towards people who desperately need grace and love? The exact same grace and love that WE as believers need. I got really convicted thinking about how quick I am to talk about how lost someone is, or how much THEY need Jesus, or how much THEY need to repent. All the while forgetting why I need Jesus. I think just as the gap between rich and poor grows, so does the gap between believers and non-believers… and maybe, just maybe it has a little bit to do with how we as believers portray grace and love, especially in situations like Caitlyn Jenner. Just to be clear, I know that it’s a small fraction of Christians who put up those billboards. However, I can’t look anyone in the eyes and say I haven’t thought something like the words on one of the billboards. I would have been one of the first to pick up a stone to throw like those in John 8. I’m typing this post with the assumption that I’m not alone.
I just want to warn you now, here comes the most cliche Christian saying in the book. What would Jesus do? But seriously? If Jesus was on the earth today, what would He have to say about Caitlyn Jenner? Or what He would say about the billboards? Well here is what He SAID in Matthew 7:1-5
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Look, we as believers do need to acknowledge that our culture is lost… yes, but only after we can acknowledge that WE are lost. There is judgement and consequences, absolutely, but Jesus never preached what those billboards or what our hearts as believers sometimes say. Hell fire and brimstone doesn’t lead people to Christ, grace and love does. As we hold firm to our beliefs and proclaim truth, lets proclaim THE TRUTH. Jesus would have invited Caitlyn Jenner over to dinner and rebuked judgmental people like myself. I do believe that Bruce is confused and that God intended for him to be a man, but I also wholeheartedly believe he is loved.