For it is by grace you have been saved...

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Can We "Judge" Bruce Jenner?

I'm sure most folks have heard the big "reveal" of Bruce Jenner's "new identity."  After some surgery and other...stuff...the former Olympian has revealed that he is now "Caitlyn" Jenner. 

This morning, Pastor John Piper put a little post on Facebook asking if this "Caitlyn" was the father of Bruce Jenner's sons.  While in part it seems to be a jab, I think Pastor John was also simply trying to point out that no matter the surgery, Jenner is still biologically a male who has fathered several children.  Regardless of what he wants to "identify" as, he is a man, he provided the male "part" needed for child birth, and nothing changes that. 

Of course, as you can imagine, comments were quick and sometimes harsh.  Here is a snapshot as I saw it on my feed:

Aside from the simple head-shaking I experience when I wonder why some of these folks even read Pastor Piper's posts (that was fun to say), I also face the head-shaking question of "have these folks ever read a Bible?"

We hear all the time this mantra of "we can't judge others" and "we should just love everyone."  But those comments show a complete lack of biblical understanding, both of judging and love. 

When it comes to judging, it is true that God is the ultimate judge.  Only He determines the ultimate fate of any man, woman or child, and His Word clearly states that the only criteria to be used is that of Jesus Christ.  In that sense, we don't judge. 

Yet Scripture also clearly tells us to be "fruit inspectors", judging the fruit in one another's life compared to the truth of God's Word.  Within in the church, that judgment can at times even lead to removing a person from the fellowship of God's people if they live in consistent, unrepentant sin.  Matthew 18, 1 Corinthians 5, Galatians 6 and other places spell this out for us. 

So, to call sin, sin is not "judging" as so many put it.  We are simply holding one another to the standards of God's Word.  Which by the way, is what that text about "not judging" that so many point to is all about.  Matthew 7 is all about holding others to different standards than we apply to ourselves, ignoring our own sin while highlighting others, etc.  We should avoid that, but Jesus does tell us to deal with our own sin, and then we are more ready to help others deal with theirs as well.  It's not meant to tell us to ignore those in sin completely, but to hold all to the same standard, which is God's Word. 

As to love, this attitude shows equal ignorance.  Genuine love, biblical love, is not simply letting others do whatever they want regardless of the sinfulness of the actions.  True love seeks the highest good of others.  To seek the highest good of a man like Bruce Jenner, is to tell him that his current confusion is not remedied through surgeries and makeup, but through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.  Because we love others, we tell them they are lost in sin and that Jesus is the only answer for that sin problem.  

If I see a friend bound for disaster, it is unloving to keep my mouth shut and say, "Well, to each his own." If I see a child about to stick his hand in a hot oven, it's unloving to say, "Well, whatever makes him happy."  Love seeks the highest good, seeks to protect, seeks to heal.  To those in sin, love says "Your contentment can only be found in Christ, continuing in your sin will drag you to hell, Christ can heal and save and forgive."  

People often point to the story in John chapter 8 of the woman caught in adultery.  Jesus rebukes those who are preparing to "judge" her, and lovingly offers her forgiveness.  Yes, he does that.  Because those who were about to stone her were doing it out of rage, in an attempt to "trap" Jesus, in denial of their own need for forgiveness as well.  

But then notice what Jesus says to the woman.  Not, "hey, it's ok, live life the way you want, do what feels right."  He says, "go and sin no more."  He love and forgives, but then calls her to leave her sin behind.

So, the loving thing to say is "Mr. Jenner, whatever pain and loneliness has caused the confusion in your life, know that true and lasting peace can only come from repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.  Turn from your sin, from your selfish desires, and seek Him. Find love, find peace, find reconciliation with God in Christ.  He will make you whole.  He will give you true identity in Him."  That's not judging, that's lovingly stating the truth.  Just as it was presented to me.  Just as we present it to any and all others who are lost and dying in sin.  Jesus is the answer. 

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