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To condemn or condone? That is the question: Dealing with every changing concepts of gender and children

28 May

379367_7377I saw an article about a little child that was being picked on in school.  This child would endure torment and trials and the staff at the school didn’t know what to do to help.  But the problem wasn’t that the kindergarten boy was too small, or had a speach impediment, or had some sort of physical abnormality; it was the fact that this five-year-old-boy wanted to be a girl.

At home, he would dress like a girl, sing the girl songs from Disney movies, and wear pants on his head to pretend that he had long hair.  The parents tried everything, from extra father-son time to taking away all things girly in their house.  Nothing seemed to work.  They eventually went through the process of telling the school and family members that their little boy was going to live as a girl from that day on.

This story reminded me of another story, one that took place in my little town of Fountain, Colorado, of a little boy who was denied use of the girl’s bathroom, even though he chose to live life as a girl.  There is a lawsuit now as the parents are trying hard to fight for the rights of their son to be a girl.

The first question that came to my mind was, “How on Earth could a child as young as five know anything about genders and want to make the choice to live as one or the other?”  It would seem to me that a child would live as a child knows how to live: as themselves.  But then some would argue that their ‘true selves’ are not their ‘actual selves.’  It’s all so very confusing.

I’m not a child therapist.  I have a hard time understanding my two children and they seem to be perfectly normal.  So how am I ever going to be able to understand what is going on with these children who place themselves outside of the ‘norms’ of society?  The truth is: I can’t understand it.

Like most Christians, my first reaction was to condemn something, anything.  “It’s the parent’s fault.  Somehow, they’ve encouraged this behavior.”  “It’s societies fault for blurring the lines between genders.”

We certainly can’t blame the children, those preciouse little beings that God holds tightly in His hands.  There’s no way a child could make these dicisions by themselves.  Is there?

John 8:44 says, “For you are the children of your father the Devil.” (NLT)  There is no shortage of verses that express the fact that we are all sinners, even from the moment of conception.  (Psalm 51:5 NLT)  Even though we like to think of children as under an all-protecting umbrella, held by none other than God Himself, the truth is that children are affected by sin–and able to sin–long before they understand the concepts of grace and mercy.

So, since this is an evil act being worked through children, should we not condemn the children?  

Of course not!  But this is not just about children verses adults and treating everyone the same way in regards to sin.  It’s about condemning people in the first place.  Like I said already, condemnation was my first reaction when I read that story.  But it is the wrong response.  Jesus Himself said, “For God sent His son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.”  (John 3:17 NLT)  So if Jesus wasn’t going to pass judgement on people, why should we?

Now, please don’t mistake what I’ve said so far as an acceptance of these actions.  There will come a day when all people will appear before God and answer for their evil here on Earth. (Matthew 25: 31-46 NLT)

So, since I don’t want to condemn, and I can’t condone this sin, what then should my response be?

Love.  Love is really the only thing left to do.  After all, our ultimate goal should be to bring people to God, not sentence them to hell; and the only true way to accomplish this is my loving everyone.  (John 13:35 NLT)

It is easy for us to relate to sins such as murder (we’ve all been angry), and theft (we’ve all been in need); but it is harder for us, if not impossible to understand sexual sins.  But we are not called to understand anything.  We are called to love others and bring them into a relationship with God.  In order to do this, we must cast aside our impulse to condemn; we must not dilute our faith by condoning.  We simply must love, and, in doing so, shine Christ’s love to a lost and dying world.

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