Editor’s note – Due to a problem with the new website, week 3 never went live. As such, we will be expanding into the first week of December. Thank you for your understanding!
Lies We Believe About Ourselves and Others
Day 1: God, Gays, and Gender
Today, right now, there are Christians who sang amazing grace on Sunday and go on talk shows proclaiming that god has armed psychopaths to kill children because Americans have legalized gay marriage. There are Christians who love the sinner and hate the sin, who label the deed sinful before they speak the “sinner’s” name first in in its Devine holiness. There are Christians who sleep in the same bed as someone with the same parts as them. There are Christians whose bodies have not caught up to their souls.
Before we discuss anything else, know this: each of these people are the favored, beloved child of God.
I’m not going to waste everyone’s time by explaining why non-cis-gender or non-heterosexual identities are honored or blessed by God. Not because it isn’t important, and not because those on the outside don’t deserve to know the trueness of God’s love, but because hundreds of scholars much smarter than I have already wrestled with this topic for decades and because adjudicating whether or not a perfect God of unconditional love can be halted or pacified by the quality of someone’s “lifestyle” has already been answered at the foot of the cross.
“Love the sinner, not the sin.”
“Can’t volunteer and serve until your issues have been corrected.”
These are words and phrases the church uses to accomplish a couple of goals. First, it allows us to define a political issue as a religious one, something Christians have been subtly doing for years. (If you haven’t seen The Family on Netflix or read about the religious influence on Donald Trump’s campaign, it’s worth your time). Secondly, it allows us a bit of distance from the nature of sin.
See, we’re not habitual sinners, we’re regular sinners, and sure, that’s bad, but it could be worse. Essentially, we’re building a sin pyramid. At the base, we have things like lying and envious thoughts. Judgment. They’re bad, obviously, but like, in the scheme of things, they’re not bad bad. And everyone tells a little white lie every now and then right? On the next layer, we have things like stealing and perjury. Obviously hurtful, still forgivable, and more intentional and thus, a bigger sin. The next levels vary on what you believe in. Murder perhaps? But there’s prison ministries that preach you aren’t the things you’ve done.
And that’s the heart of the issue, right? I know what you’re thinking: I’m right, sin is sin. That isn’t the issue, Bryce. The issue, Bryce is repentance. A murderer can say they’re sorry and while they can’t bring back the deceased, they can accept the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. And that’s the difference. The acceptance of the sinner makes the forgiveness of the savior possible. And everyone is capable of repentance.
Except, of course, for psychopaths, people with brains that, presumably God made or oversaw, make them physically incapable of remorse, of, essentially, repentance.
And what about persons who are intersex? People who are made neither male nor female? How do they, these children, creations, of God fit into your genesis theology that demands HE created THEM “male” and “female.” Are there people alive, today that were not made by the God you attest to be all powerful? All knowing? All good?
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:38-39 NIV
In the end, it comes down to something simple: humility. A strong belief that maybe God knows more than we do – about all of it. Repentance. Sin. Habituation and causal. Flippancy. Judgement. It’s a lot for our tiny homo sapien minds to handle. Maybe we’re just supposed to do the hard job of fully loving each human that comes across our path. Maybe we’re supposed to develop theologies that don’t make people want to kill themselves.
Nothing separates you from the love of God. Not a broken brain, not a social identity, not a tribe or tongue. As complicated and infuriating, as undeserved and satiating as it is –
Jesus loves you, this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Yes, Jesus loves you. Yes, Jesus loves you. Yes, Jesus loves you. The Bible tells me so.
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