Bruce Jenner and Hypocritical Christians
Surely by now you have heard about Bruce Jenner and his intention to move forward in the process of having a sex change. I have two questions for those of you who claim to share my faith, but choose to express it by posting harsh and derogatory comments that do not reflect Christ.
For arguments sake: What if you are right? What if what Bruce Jenner and the thousands of other transgender Americans are doing is wrong? What if they are wrong?
And, for arguments sake, let’s say they are. Do you really think that your mean spirited status updates and article shares will do any good? Whose mind do you expect to change by being so harsh?
“For all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
If you are right, and they are wrong, haven’t you too fallen short of the glory of God? Aren’t we all sinners in need of a Savior? That time you rolled your eyes at your mom when she asked you not to wear so much eyeliner, when you didn’t clock out at work when you took a break, because it was only 5 minutes and you knew no one would notice, that time you sped because you were running late, those hateful thoughts that popped into your mind when you heard about Bruce Jenner’s decision: those things render you just as Hell bound as he.
So if you are right, and these people do need Jesus: Why aren’t you showing Him? Why aren’t you acting like Him? Why aren’t you obeying Him?
We are called to love, and to be salt and light to a hurting and broken world. How then, will be reach those who are hurting while acting this way? We simply can not fulfill the Great Commission and reach those who appear to be living outside of the will of God if we spend all of our time pushing away the very people we are called to reach.
A few months ago I was at Chick Fil A eating dinner with a friend before we went to campus church. After ordering and sitting down, I whispered across the table “No one is that tan in January”, referring to the girl behind the counter who had taken our order. “She is darker than the fried chicken.” He looked up at me and said
“Ellen. You need to read 1 John”.
I knew to what he was referring and was crushed. I felt even smaller when I went back to my dorm that night and read the five chapter long book about loving others. 1 John 2:3-11 says this:
We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
The sixth verse in the first chapter says this: “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” The point is, we have been commanded to live out the truth of God’s word. We are called to show Christ’s love. And, generally speaking, we aren’t.
Earlier today I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw someone who I know was raised in the church post something very derogatory about Bruce Jenner and his decisions, along with a link to an article that can only be described as hateful and vile. And a few minutes later, the same person posted a verse explain the Gospel. And it got me thinking.
“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” – Romans 6:4
I was disgusted by the hypocrisy that was displayed by the juxtaposition of those two posts. We were buried with Christ in baptism, and raised to walk in newness of life. The old is gone and they new has come! That hypocritical, condemning spirit? That should be long gone. Christ died to free us from that sinful spirit. Jesus did not bleed and die on a cross for us to judge, belittle, and slander a fellow image bearer of the Living and Holy God. Because that is exactly who Bruce Jenner is. And all the plastic surgery, electrolysis, and hormone pills in the world could never change that. This was true before the sex change and it will be true after: he was created in the image of God.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:1-14
As true as this is for you and me, it is also true for Bruce Jenner. Christ died to save him too.
So, to my saved-by-grace friends and followers, here is my second question:
That grace you claim to be so amazing? Where is it? That grace that you say is so life changing? Where is the evidence of it in your life? In your social media profiles? In your conversations? Because if your condemning status updates and article shares are the only exposure to christianity that this world sees (and far too often, that is the case) can you really blame them for hating us? I can’t.
Because at the end of the day, when it comes to how we treat and how we speak about Bruce Jenner, it doesn’t matter if what he’s doing is right or wrong. It really, truly doesn’t. Because we are told that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Just because your sins are different, you are not a “better sinner”.
But again, if you are right, that is where Christians should identify his need for Jesus. If you are right, and he is wrong, he needs your prayers and petition, not your petty, proud commentary. Our hearts should break for him and we should become desperate in our desire to see him come to know the Lord.
That is what should define Christians: Our obsessive desire to see the world won for Christ. Not our eagerness to sit in white washed pews, under stained glass windows, and tear down the very world we are called to reach. We should preach salvation for the oppressed and freedom for the prisoners: not a social commentary. Grace. Never Gossip.
Harsh criticism and hate-filled, self righteous opinions have never won anyone for Christ, and they never will. But they have pushed a lot of people away.
When Christ came into contact with prostitutes, tax collectors, and sinners, he didn’t act “holier than thou” and refuse to be seen with them, nor did he post publicly on social media about their transgressions. Even though he did say “go and sin no more”, He loved them. So should we.
Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ
If we are the body
Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren’t His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
While not addressed here, there is a time and a place to call out sin, and I promise you, social media will never be the proper place, nor should condemnation be your spirit of delivery. Here is great resource, written by a dear friend, to check out when it comes to confronting sin. Click here.
***This was written before Bruce Jenner appeared as a woman, and in respect of his wishes, the male pronouns are used.