Photography by Matt Wyatt

Hearts that Need Redeemed

I have never been more aware of using a public bathroom. For years the only thought I had ever given to the experience was checking the blue sign to make sure the little stick figure didn’t have a skirt and using my shoe to flush the toilet to avoid the cesspool of who knows what on the handlebar. That last part will always be important, but some in our culture are slowly wanting to take away the first of those two concerns for me by telling me it doesn’t matter if the little stick figure has a skirt on or not.

But the truth is, it does matter.

Being male or female is rooted in the very image of who God is. The joining of the two is a reflection of the trinity and our full makeup, from our head to our toes, is a work from the palette of an expressive creator.

The twisting of these designs is no doubt a result of the overarching grip Sin has on us. We must always remember that and really how could we forget? It’s everywhere we look; every time we catch a cold, whenever we feel pain, we are keenly aware of how Sin has changed everything. God created us in His perfect image and any variation from that is a result of Sin.

You may have noticed I capitalized Sin. We must learn to differentiate between Sin and sin. The former being the overall state of things in chaos, the latter being the choices we make.

Too often Christianity has only focused on one half of the above when it comes to difficult subjects such as homosexuality or transgenderism, namely that they are sins. The rest, that people have felt these struggles since birth as a result of Sin, we have tried to deny and even condemn out of fear of touching the subject with a fifty-foot pole. Tragically, our fear has been at the expense of the people themselves.

I believe at some point the church, in order to keep moving the gospel forward, will have to admit that some people do in fact feel attracted to the same sex or even that they were born the wrong gender. Not only that, they have felt this way all their lives and cannot just “shake it off”as some less than compassionate Christians have suggested they do.

Those kind of suggestions aren’t helping or portraying Jesus in a very good light. We must also remember that the feelings themselves, unless acted upon, are not sin but a result of Sin. As such, we can set aside our worrying that we will be condoning sin or legitimatizing sin when we are talking about the subject and realize instead that we are just acknowledging Sin’s existence and trying to figure out the best approach to helping who it has affected, which really is all of us.

Honest conversations, grace and encouraging faithfulness to biblical manhood and womanhood over letting our feelings dictate us is a good start. The great commission reminds us that no matter what twisted thing we find our culture wrestling with next, the solution is the same. It always has been and it always will be. The solution is active Christians speaking the life-changing grace of Jesus.

There is a passage in Luke where Jesus and his disciples are going through a Samaritan village, but after the Samaritans turn out to be less than hospitable this happens:

When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then he and his disciples went to another village. Luke 9:54-56

There is an entire back story as to why the Jews and the Samaritans didn’t get along. Essentially, the Jews viewed Samaritans as half-bloods because they intermarried with non-Jews. They also looked down on them because they mixed idol worship with Judaism.

James and John were right to stand up for their faith, but they were wrong when their zeal was at the expense of the people they were supposed to be sharing the gospel with. Instead of seeing hearts that needed to be redeemed, they saw sins that needed punished.

Jesus knew the bigger picture. He knew there wasn’t time for anger and hatred and so He moved on to the next village. He lets us in on the  bigger picture during another interaction with a Samaritan:

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

Let us too, like Jesus, see the bigger picture and quench the thirst of God’s creation which as Paul puts it, “has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Romans 8:22) with the grace of Jesus. The grace we have been given ourselves simply doesn’t allow room for shaming anyone and to be honest we just don’t have time for it.



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