Sunday, June 7, 2015

Christians, It's Time to Stop Parsing Sins

I hadn't intended to make any commentary on Caitlyn Jenner. I figured there were more than enough people doing that already. This morning though, after reading a Christian response from Motherhood...Unscripted, I felt some words well up—not concerning Jenner herself as much as the people surrounding her with comfort blankets and Hellfire, both in the name of God.

There is a fine duality we're called to walk in following Jesus—that is, living in unjudging love while still understanding within ourselves the realities of sin and salvation.

The Jenner transition is just the most recent opportunity for this duality to be seen in Christians, and while many—maybe most— of those commenting on the topic of trans will actually show themselves teetering to one side or the other (reacting with either uselessly-scalding condemnation or equally-useless sycophancy), the thing to be remembered above all is the way we all are equal partakers in the curse that drives our hearts from God.

"...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23).

This is a wound and salve in one. We tell ourselves that everyone has sin, but how do we actually apply that truth? By honing in on one sin above all the rest? By throwing up our hands and treating it as some vague law of nature taken care of by a God who is more concerned with us feeling good than knowing Him? No. Neither of these are extremes those of us called to live as Christ should be leaning on in a world stuck between Edens.

Understand this: the "falling short of God" manifests in each of us uniquely. Every one of us is born with sinful inclinations and a challenge to pursue God despite them. No hurdle—regardless of how uncomfortable the idea of it may make us—is more Hell-bound than any other, and the person who has made their hurdle into a finish line will see little worth pursuing in the vociferous scorn of people who forget they are still running the very same race.

So what do we do?—concerning ourselves, our families, our friends, the strangers on the street, in comment sections on the Internet, and the other side of the world? To use a phrase all but co-opted by Christians with good-but-compromised intentions...we love. We who desire to live in the Spirit of our Saviour should be satisfied with nothing less.

Let motiveless love be the foundation upon which every interaction and thought is built. Understand within yourself the nature of our "falling short"—the diversity with which our inter-Eden struggle manifests—and always be ready to acknowledge this universal necessity for salvation, if prompted. But do not, do not—do not!—make any person's sin a battleground for the selling point of Heaven. Do not think someone's hurdle as something to be mended with castigation and shame. Love. Trust the power of salvation to the One whose blood and breath established it, and believe He knew what He was doing when He said "'a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another,'” (John 13:34).

Love everyone. Without intention or pretext. Let your interactions be full of love and your heart full of prayer. That is what Christly love looks like and, unlike the Old Testament law, it is a commandment we actually have the power to keep.

So keep it.