For a couple of days I have seen the “debates” across social media concerning transgender people and which bathroom they’ll be using, and while I have my own opinion on it I have yet to speak it at all. I’ve instead sat back silently for a bit and watched with raised eyebrow, not in judgement, mind you, but kind of in a depressing watch and see mode. Because when words flash emotionally, quickly and passionately across the Internet, it becomes not so much a debate as a misuse of power and truth.
Every single day I put on the armor of God, and if you read the verses concerning this battle garb you’ll notice that it is available for your protection as a believer in Christ. I love that shield of faith that protects me from the enemy’s poisonous arrows. Even the sword of the spirit, although a defensive weapon of truth, is to be used a certain way.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
But what I’ve been seeing this week, and just about anytime these kind of arguments arise on social media, is that sword of the spirit, God’s truth, being used to cut up those around us. So instead of following the instructions in Galatians to “restore with a spirit of gentleness,” we come out guns blazing, head-butting with our helmet of salvation and kicking tail with our gospel of peace. Isn’t that ironic?!
I believe in God’s truth. I believe in the Bible and its instruction, but I also believe that God is love. God loves me a lot. This I know. But I also know He loves transgender, gay and lesbian alike. He loves the recently deceased artist named Prince, and he even loves Hillary Clinton. Crazy I know.
And the thing is as His ambassador here on earth, given the great position of spreading His gospel, I am instructed to love my neighbors as He does. Even if they don’t believe, dress or pee sitting down like me.
Now, does that mean as a Christian I’m a pushover? Heck no! Can I stand up for truth, righteous and the rights of myself and my family. Yes, yes, double yes!
We are instructed by these same verses in Ephesians to stand firm against the enemy and his schemes, but we are also reminded of where the real battle exists. And in that knowledge we cannot tear apart our fellow man who does not see clearly. We should not ridicule or demean others, as that’s not how you build up God’s kingdom.
We shouldn’t tear apart other believers when opinions differ. We cannot allow division among God’s house. We should carry ourselves in an atmosphere of Christ, standing firm in truth, but not browbeating everyone in our path.
This is one of the hardest things to do as a lover of Jesus. When someone does something that is an affront to our Savior we want to get even, but Christ would say, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
I’m not saying that when corruption runs rampant that you sit silent. I’m not saying you twiddle your thumbs when persecution persists. Stand firm, wear your armor. Just remember who you’re really fighting. It’s not Target.
As you go to battle for the Lord, take care to run your actions through the filter of the fruit of the spirit. Do you approach others with patience and kindness, even as you speak truth with a convicting yet gentle reproach? Are you exercising self-control or flying off the handle with misguided passion? If your words ridicule or wound a human, then they should be redirected. Your contempt should be for sin, not a guy who wears dresses.
So if I say anything at all in regards to this transgender bathroom debate it would be this: Speak your words like Christ was right beside you. Carry not hate in your heart toward man. Instead direct your passions toward living your entire life in truth, for one sin is no greater than another.
Speak life. Live as an example. Show love. And pray that when you put on your armor that the Lord equip you to use it wisely against your true enemies, not to wound your brothers and sisters.
About the Author: Brie Gowen is a 30-something (sliding ever closer to 40-something) wife and mother. When she’s not loving on her hubby, chasing after the toddler or playing princess with her four-year-old, she enjoys cooking, reading and writing down her thoughts to share with others. Brie is also a huge lover of Jesus. She finds immense joy in the peace a relationship with her Savior provides, and she might just tell you about it sometime. She’d love for you to check out her blog at BrieGowen.com.