Unless you live under a rock, you know who Bruce Jenner is. In the 70’s, he was known as the “world’s greatest athlete.” This once famous athlete is now famous once more, but for a different reason. Bruce now classifies himself as a transgender and goes by the name “Caitlyn Jenner.” He says he was confused his entire life because he lived in a man’s body, but felt like a woman. Because of this, he decided to become a woman. He is now a transgender and his name pops up more than those stupid internet ads. As Christians, how do we respond to this?
This whole Bruce Jenner situation is great for Christians! It allows us to look away from the mirror of our own sin and focus on Bruce Jenner. It is also great for Christians because it allows us to feel great about ourselves. We are sinners just like Bruce, but because we would never become a transgender we are “better” than him. In terms of our morality we feel more righteous than him. So not only does this entire situation take focus away from our own sin, but helps us feel more righteous. Isn’t that awesome?! (Lots of sarcasm in this paragraph)
We as Christians are highly critical, overly judgmental, and self-righteous people who enjoy pointing a finger at the person in front of us rather than taking a look at ourselves. It is so easy to read about Bruce Jenner and judge and condemn him. I must say, if you criticize Bruce Jenner more than you pray for him, there is an issue. We feel that his sin is so bad he does not deserve to be loved. Yes we can agree that becoming a transgender is a sin, but so is being prideful. Why do we single out his sin? Why do we criticize and talk badly about him, yet lack any effort to pray for him? Why do we act like we are better than him? It breaks my heart to see people single out his sin of becoming a transgender. It’s as if that sin sends you to Hell more than being prideful, lying, having an affair, thinking lustful thoughts, or coveting will. Thankfully for all of us, Bruce included, we are not saved by climbing the ladder of morality. We are saved by the blood of Christ alone. We are not righteous by what we do, but what Christ has done for us.
It is amazing to me how we want to cast a stone at Bruce. In John 8, we see a bunch of Pharisees judging, condemning, and trying to kill a woman who committed adultery. They see her sin and view her as dirty, disgusting, and less than human. As they were ready to stone her, Jesus came to them. He wrote in the sand “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). Jesus, the most righteous man to ever walk the earth, the man without sin, the man who had every right to size her up and condemn her, decided to love her rather than condemn her. In fact, you know who Jesus got in the face of? It wasn’t the prostitutes, tax collectors, or thieves. Jesus got right in the face of the Pharisees. They were a people who tried to get to God through morality; through good behavior. He called them stiff necked people and a brood of vipers. If we don’t humble ourselves, it is easy to become like a Pharisee. We forget about grace and begin to believe that our moral behavior makes us righteous. Unfortunately “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And even worse, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Fortunately for us, “to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Romans 4:4-5). What a profound and life-changing truth! Our good behavior, tamed tongue, controlled thoughts, and morality do not save us. Our faith and trust in Jesus is what saves us. That means all of us have the right to become children of God, including Bruce. “Now to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
In all of this, I am not saying we should support what Bruce is doing. We should never support any sin and applause it. So how do we love Bruce? If we love him, our love will not manifest itself in a clapping of hands, praise, judgment, or condemnation; rather, it will manifest itself in humility, prayer, pointing him to Christ, and becoming a friend of someone who sins just as you and I do every day.
Bruce Jenner recently did an interview where he discussed why he decided to become a transgender. When we take a moment to step back, humble ourselves, and look at him in love, we will see that he is going through immense pain, confusion, and hurt. I am not supporting what he is doing, but there is a difference between supporting someone and loving them. When we love him, we understand that what he is doing is wrong, but we also see he is hurting and confused, and needs Christ! He doesn’t need others to tell him he is “sick,” “twisted,” “disgusting,” and “hated.” He needs someone to point him to Jesus. It’s as if we are more worried about his sin rather than his eternity. No amount of criticism or judgement will ever change Bruce’s heart. The blood of Jesus is the only thing that will save him. In fact, the blood of Jesus is the only thing that has the power to change any of us. So stop pointing fingers at Bruce Jenner and look at yourself, your brokenness, and your sin and realize that you too need Jesus!