The gap between where we are and where we want to be is real. Most of us look at our lives and can find at least one thing that just doesn’t line up to the ideal self-image we have in our minds. Maybe it’s our job. Our weight. Our relationships. The list is long and can get really heavy. It is easy to feel less than, or not fully fulfilled, in this life. Take a look, everyone has something… some longing for something to be different. But maybe the gap over which we gaze is about something more.
In any society, people are born into an already clearly defined world. We slide into this world not really having to decide much on our own. People, plenty of people, are there already telling us stuff about the world around us. They tell us that the sloppy dog licking our face is man’s best friend, and we are to love them. They tell us that sticking a fork into a light socket is a bad idea. We learn what things are good and what things are bad by the people who have gone before us and are there to make sure we get it right. “This is a cup, you drink from this. That is spaghetti, it goes in your mouth, not on the ceiling.” Not too much left for us to figure out.
Because of this, change comes to society with great difficulty, and currently, there are a lot of things changing in our society that make many of us uncomfortable. We are being made to feel less than because of standards that we try to uphold. I mean people wear pajamas to Walmart! But I’m not really talking about that. I’m not talking about hem lines or what we really mean by business casual either. There are things that have been established norms since creation. Because there are some who feel uncomfortable in their skin, who find the gap between where they are and where they want to be seemingly unreachable, we are being asked to extend them tolerance and acceptance in whatever they need to do to feel better.
So… now if I stand for traditional marriage, then I am intolerant. If I insist that “God made them male and female. Male and female he made them”, then I am being closed minded and ignorant. If I accept people not based on “the color of their skin but by the content of their character” then I stop elevating my own skin color and realize that race is a social construct and nothing in reality. Oh wait… that one’s okay. If I support the pro-life stance and denounce abortion as murder, then I am being insensitive and stealing away a woman’s right to choose.
For non-believers, and even some believers who haven’t thoroughly thought these things through… there is a reason why Christians just cannot give in to the current societal pressure for changes in these areas.
It has to do with sacredness. A person’s gender is sacred. We are designed male and female, down to the genes that make up the DNA in every cell of our bodies. Our design is sacred. Our skin color is sacred. The space inside a woman’s womb is sacred. It is the very place designed to bring forth the Savior of the world. Marriage is sacred, also. A piece of paper does not make a marriage. A piece of paper makes it legal, but God made marriage. He defined it as a relationship between a man and a woman, entered into it, and made it sacred. We. Do. Not. Mess. With. The. Sacred.
So what about the person who feels uncomfortable in their skin? Isn’t the prevailing statement these days, “You do you”? What is the right answer for those who struggle with their identity? The answer was, is, and will always be Jesus. I think Jesus had to struggle with His identity some, too, don’t you? I mean He was God, after all, and He was limited in His earthly body during His stay on the planet. I think it stands to reason there were times when He gazed across a similar identity gap. But He never did forsake the sacred. He knew in due time, all would be made right again.
I do not doubt the real gaps that exist in the world today where identity is involved, and neither am I insensitive to them. But when we stop finding our identity in Christ, we are left to finding it in the world, and the world is a harsh, disappointing, unfaithful, misleading place. There are so many people who are bouncing from here to there looking for an identity that makes them feel comfortable when their identity was established before the foundation of the earth. It is the great lie of the age, and a gap that only Jesus can bridge.
2 thoughts on “Don’t mess with the Sacred”
Hi Stacey, thank you for your blog post. I haven’t thought about the identity crisis that Christ had, thank you. I think it is also important that Christ chose to appear as a specific gender and not as a gender neutral person. While celibate, he still embraces being male (and the other things that came with it, such as circumcision) as his identity. What are your thoughts on the concept of identity being more nuanced than just identity with Christ. Is it a Spiritual identity? Is it a physical identity? Could a transgendered person claim that they have identified with Christ too? Would our transgendered brothers and sisters not see their claims as sacred as well?
I appreciate your response and your follow up so much. Identity is something that I am focusing on almost exclusively in my studies right now. Let me warn you that my thoughts on this are likely going to just bubble out, but I will try to make sure the bubbling flows in some sort of manner that is organized.
Scripture tells us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. The temple of God in the Old Testament was made to divine specifications. We can only assume then, that so are our bodies. We are both spirit and body. These shall only separate when the temporal body ceases to have life. Therefore… for the time being one holds influence over the other, and vice versa.
My daughter is an amazing artist with a degree in fine art. Currently, the art she produces is of an abstract nature. I truly enjoy when her art is displayed publically, going and standing by, listening to how individuals interpret what her art is, or what it is “saying”. People put labels on her art, but to truly find out what it is, we must go to my daughter, the artist and creator, to define it. We can label it, but we could be wrong. Only the designer can define the design. I can apply more paint or some other medium to the existing design, trying to make the piece what I feel it should be, but that does not change the original intent or design of the piece. Ownership of that belongs to my daughter.
I realize that the concept of identity can be a very abstract one. Our identity is, of course, governed by that with which we identify. When we identify with Christ, we take on His identity. When we become followers of Jesus, it is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us. Just as Christ is God’s son, we become sons and daughters in God’s family, co-heirs with Christ to the Kingdom of God.
Having a crisis of identity is not fun. It becomes difficult to navigate the world around us. We tend to latch onto anything that seems stable in that moment… like a drowning man holds to a life ring.
Genesis tells us that God created us “male and female”. It seems so simple, backwards even, by today’s standards. Currently, there are more than 90 ways a person can identify themselves with regard to gender. 90+! When we brush all the added paint away, there are still just two. Male and female… intentional and purposeful.
We must remember that the heart is deceitful above all else. Our feelings will flat out lie to us. Our enemy will use our thoughts to destroy us, confuse us, and derail us. Gender confusion is challenging our society. It is separating families. It is bringing pain and insecurity to individuals. It is not bringing clarity, but chaos. God is not the author of confusion.
We do not get to decide what is sacred. Just as we do not get to decide what marriage is, or what God intended when He designed us. Having 90+ ways to describe identity in current society is what happens when we are left to do what is right in our own minds. We muddle up the clarity. Apart from Christ, we identify by what we do, not who we are made to be.
Where does that leave our transgendered friends? It leaves them in quite a quagmire, for sure. With so many choices, we can be one thing one day, and a completely other thing the next, with a seemingly overwhelming lack of control. The only plausible answer is not to add more options, but to turn toward the only real option. Jesus points us to solid ground. God waits on our call to help find a firm place to stand.
John, this was way too long. I know. But I truly appreciate your thoughts. Keep them coming!