Gordy Williams is an associate pastor at the Village Church of Barrington, in Barrington, Ill. Williams and his wife, Rebecca, have one son, Emmet. After God and his family, Gordy's great loves are the church, reading and fishing.
Micah 6:8 and Caitlyn Jenner
The LGBT discussion is a hot topic in our ministry. Over the last two months, I continued to ponder the best ways to help our students answer some of these tough questions. I bet it’s the same for you. Our students hear what the culture says about sexuality and identity, and honestly wrestle with what the Bible says. They seek clarity in a dialogue that often seems muddy.
The recent explosion of media coverage surrounding Caitlyn Jenner gives another opportunity for interaction. So, how can we engage the issue from a Christian worldview, and how can we help our students to do the same?
I think Micah 6:8 can help us: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (ESV)
Justice and righteousness
Justice and righteousness are related. Righteousness means being morally right. Justice means moving in that direction. To do justice is to seek the good, both individually and as a culture. With regards to Caitlyn Jenner, justice states clearly that the identity he is trying to create for himself is disconnected from the identity he was given by God. God didn’t err when he assigned Jenner his masculine gender. He could have created him, born as a woman, but He did not. The deep pain and years of confusion, which Jenner described in his recent interview with Diane Sawyer, is the fruit of turning away from God’s good intentions for his life. Doing justice means pointing the way back.
I believe it means continuing to use masculine pronouns when discussing Jenner. If he desires to be called Caitlyn, that’s his choice, but it would be supporting falsehood (not justice) to refer to him as her.
Mercy, goodwill and favor
Mercy produces goodwill or favor, given to someone in need. A merciful response to Caitlyn Jenner is one of kindness, love and honor. Jenner was created in the image of God, and as such, he posses inherent dignity. While it is true that his sin nature has marred that image, exactly as my sin has marred my own, we must not rob him of his humanity by ignoring him or speaking of him as if he is beneath us. The gospel is for Caitlyn, too. It is neither just nor merciful to close the doors of the church to those who are facing gender confusion.
Our interaction about Caitlyn should be a living example of walking humbly with God. The reality is that walking with God is only possible because of His mercy to us. Apart from Christ, I am no better off than Caitlyn Jenner. Neither are you. Humility means that we talk with people, not at them. It means that we submit to God’s Word, not our feelings or the voice of the culture. Ultimately, we commit to relationship with Him, and helping others do the same.
How are you helping your students engage the LGBT community in ways that promote justice, mercy and a humble dependence on God?
ReachStudents recommends Love Into Light: The Gospel, The Homosexual and The Church as a resource for pastors and student ministries.