To be a Christian does not carry with it this idea that we are perfect. On the contrary, the basic tenet of Christianity is that we are so far from perfect that we need help from an Almighty God to even make the most basic decisions. To take the Lord’s name in vain is to take on the name of Christ but then refuse to live according to His standard of living. As a Christian, I have put my faith in Christ as the One whose death has forgiven my sin. I have also put my faith in His wisdom and way of life that I might enjoy the abundant life He promises to those who live according to His teachings. The Bible refers to Christ as the truth, and the way, and the life. If Christ is the way and the truth and the life, then the most abundant life occurs when we follow His teachings in accordance with His heart. And if He is the embodiment of Truth, can anything else be truth?
The world teaches a different version of truth. The world’s doctrine would teach us to be ‘true to ourselves.’ This is a radical shift from Scripture. Danger pops up every place where Christians begin to believe the doctrine of the world over the doctrine of Scripture. To be true to myself from what I can gather is to do what I feel and what I believe regardless of what others say or may pressure me to do. This sounds great and it does speak to not allowing others to control us. As believers, we should only be in bondage to the love of Christ, serving Him in love to others. However, the issue I have with this creed to be true to myself is what happens when what I feel and what I believe is harmful to me. Should I continue to be true to myself if my feelings and beliefs are doing damage or creating havoc in my life? Just because I believe it is true…is it right for me? Just because I feel a certain way…are those feelings going to lead me to a good place?
In my opinion for any kind of credo to carry weight, it should consistently work toward our good. To be true to myself doesn’t work if I am angry. To follow the world’s teaching, if I am angry, then I should vent my anger. Though we all need to learn how to process our anger, venting our anger usually creates more damage than good. And the Scripture says:
A man’s wisdom gives him patience;
it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
What about extramarital affairs and divorce? Just because I don’t feel like I am in love with my wife, is it right for me to divorce her? The world would say that if I have fallen out of love, then to stay with her would be false. I would not be acting in truth to myself or to her the world would say. However, are my feelings more important than my word? The problem with following what I feel and what I believe to be true is that there is no anchor to hold me when the wind and waves of life cause me to feel different from one day to the next. There is no such thing as the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and there is also no such thing as a married couple who have felt like being married to that person every moment of every day of their life. It is natural to rub each other the wrong way. It is normal to irritate one another and not want to be around one another from time to time. What a roller coaster life I would live if I followed what I believed to be true each moment of the day. If the world lived like that, there would be broken marriages everywhere, children emotionally abandoned, people moving from one relationship to another, violence, yelling, screaming, shouting, celebrating our enemy’s pain and suffering, lack of morality, worship of pleasure….And we would never want our world to look like that? ….Oh, I just realized this is exactly what our world looks like. Reality television and its popularity is the looking glass into a society being true to itself. This religion is ever changing with a person’s mood, opinion, feelings, and desires. This means that the mantra “be true to yourself” is not always good. If it is not a principle that is always good, should it be a guiding principle in our life? I don’t think so, but that’s just me. Say what you want to about Scripture
OK, I know that you started reading this because you were curious what I might say about Bruce or Caitlyn Jenner. Well, I felt like I needed to lay this foundation first. Without this foundation, it would seem as if I am criticizing Jenner. I am not! Oh, I know I just threw some of you for a loop because you were expecting that. Sorry to disappoint or surprise, but give me a chance here to explain my thoughts. I am not criticizing Jenner as much as I am criticizing and attempting to expose the harm of this religion of being true to ourself. It’s not my place to judge Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. It is my place to expose spiritual darkness that kills, steals, and destroys. I believe this way of thinking aims to do just this and is very successful. I have compassion for Jenner who I believe has been deceived by the god of this age whose goal it is to destroy every soul.
According to Jenner, he was a victim of gender dysphoria. This term is defined as discontent with one’s assigned sex at birth. Jenner has said in interviews that he or she felt like a woman, identified more as a woman than a man. This was how he felt. He has followed his feelings all the way and now the world is celebrating his courage to be true to himself. But what does the internal emotions of a woman feel like? I am a man and I can tell you how I feel internally, but there is no way for me to apply that to every man. If we are honest, there are men who feel depressed and joyful, abused and treasured, feminine and masculine, at peace and crazy. I would imagine the same is true for women. Ok, I know that many people may not accept that, but what do we do with the pedophiles who feel that they were born that way? What do we do with the terrorists cutting off the head of infidels who believe this is what God is telling them to do? Are they not being true to themselves? According to the definition, they are. What about Westboro Baptist church members who feel called by God to terrorize the funerals of fallen soldiers? Are they not being true to themselves? What if a man felt like a dog and had surgery to attach fur and a tail to his body? Oh, preacherman, that’s crazy!!! Is it, here in San Antonio, just a couple of years ago, we had a subculture of teenagers who felt like they were wolves and began to wear tails on their body. If they would have had the means, I promise you some would have elected for some cosmetic wolf surgery. This is my point. The idea of being true to myself leads to relative truth and destructive behavior. If truth is constant, then what I feel takes a back seat to what is true. A man may feel like leaving his wife, but is it right? A man may feel like becoming a woman, but is it right? A teenager may feel like rebelling against authority, but is it right? An abused woman may feel like killing her husband in the middle of his sleep, but is it right? A betrayed lover may feel like posting embarrassing photos, but is it right? Jenner had gender dysphoria and the world has lifted him up as a great person to do something about it. But what about those with marriage dysphoria, parenting dysphoria, life dysphoria? Using the backward logic of being true to our self, a case could be made that Robin Williams was suffering with life dysphoria and he was brave enough to end that thing that caused such discontent. The same people who celebrate Jenner have mourned Williams, who should be mourned, but this proves the illegitimacy of the world’s logic.
As Christians, we believe the Truth to be never-changing, found in the character and teaching of Jesus Christ. The truth is that what Jenner has done is destructive. I don’t say this because of the nature of it being transgender issues. I say this because he has set an example that we are to follow what we feel. I say this because he is teaching his children it is ok to do what we feel. Some would say that what Jenner has done harms no one, it’s his business and no one else’s. But I would disagree. He is setting an example and approving of the idea we should follow what we feel and what we believe to be true. This is bad logic, destructive behavior. It can not be applied in every situation which renders it a useless philosophy.
At the same time, as believers, all of the law we claim to have put our faith in hangs on love. Love does not mean that I accept and approve everything someone does. If I love my sons, I will not approve of them drinking and driving. I will not approve of them having sex before marriage. I will not approve of anything less than God’s best for their life. This is what sin is. All sin can be categorized as anything that does not lead to God’s best for us. If the Christian community is going to love Jenner, we should not approve, but our disapproval should be framed in a desire for him to find God’s best for his life. And our disapproval should not pretend that his choice to follow what he feels are somehow worse than the moments we follow our feelings when we are quite aware that our feelings go against God’s truth.
What Jenner has done falls into the same category as everything else that we, as humanity do, because we feel or believe it to be right in the moment. Gluttony or gossip, abortion or legalism, homosexuality, sex before marriage, divorce, anorexia, pride, hate, jealousy, extramarital affairs, judging the unbeliever, lust….I think you get the point…anything that leads us down a path less than God’s best can all be grouped together. None of these are lesser sins nor greater sins. They may have lesser and greater consequences, but they all steal from us the abundant life God desires for us. And let’s not forget that we all do these things. The Bible says that if you claim to have no sin, you are a liar. If all people sin, and Christ died for all sinful people, then people are not what is evil. Our outrage should not be directed at people. It is the so-called wisdom of this age that is evil. Love people and hate the spirit working to kill, steal, and destroy. The Christ portrayed in Scripture, but not every pulpit, would not approve of Jenner’s decision any more than He approved of the sinful decisions of the woman at the well, the rich, young ruler, Zachaeus, the tax collector, Peter, the denier, Judas, the betrayer, Thomas’ the doubter, the thief on his right, the thief on his left, or any other decision leading to less than what He hopes for us. But He loved them all.