love

I Don’t Understand Caitlyn Jenner

June 3, 2015
Caitlyn Jenner Christian PerspectiveDeemed a hero, Caitlyn Jenner went viral overnight with a Vanity Fair cover that published to over 46 million people! Sure the term hero might be a bit overboard in my opinion, yet Caitlyn spoke about a lifetime struggle for the first time to millions. I would call that brave. Unfortunately, when people bring things to light chaos tends to ensue and subsequently my social news feeds have been off the hook with people’s blog comments affirming or discrediting Caitlyn.
There are two clear camps:

  • People are either closed-minded religious bigots and fear mongers and think she is a hero or…
  • People think Caitlyn is a sinner and going to hell.

As I dive into the heart of this post, I am quite aware that I’m going to use he/she/they in incorrect ways. Sorry about that! I’m not worried about that so much since this is a new conversation table I’m joining. I also don’t worry that I’ll lose my relationship with Jesus…so I’m sitting pretty saying, “Let’s just talk about it why don’t we?”

With viral bloggers tossing remarks back and forth like they’re participating in a game of hot potato, I decided to jump in and chuck that potato sack as far as I can throw it. I’ll admit, the transgender topic is something I’ve personally struggled to understand. I worked with a transgender woman years back and I’ve been trying to grasp the entirety of it all.

I’ve watched the Diane Sawyer interview and I cried through it because the Bruce Jenner in that interview seemed sad in his current reality. I don’t like it when other’s are sad. Sad sucks and I was acutely aware that Caitlyn has a story she needs others to hear.

A story with a struggle most of us will never understand.

So when I don’t understand someone’s story, what are my choices? I’ve been thinking about this long before the media-hype of Caitlyn Jenner and I’ve only come to one conclusive yet open-ended answer. It rings back and forth as I continue to pursue my questions about the transgender community.

Above all else…they shall know us by our love.

Cool Lisa, yeah, we’ve heard that before at Christian camp, church services and our community groups. But we think of the word love as an adjective. It spices up the conversation and sounds super nice. Yet in the same breath we’re not using love in it’s fullest form. What we’re really what we’re saying is:

“Okay, yeah I’ll love, but it’s still a sin

They’re a sinner, but I’ll love them. (How gracious of us…)

“Oh…they’re that way? Well, guess we just gotta love em. But I don’t agree with them. Hate the sin, love the sinner.”

We dust off our hands and walk away feeling good about claiming love full of ‘buts.’ Zero action items or accountability.

When we talk about how much we hate “sin” what if that person is the “sin?” Meaning, Caitlyn’s choice to go from Bruce to Caitlyn would be a sin to many, so in turn we’re saying she (her identity) is the sin. Well, hmmmm. I don’t think that’s right at all.

Next steps anyone? Think more. Listen harder. Love freely. Pray through.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. – 1 Corinthians 13:1 

Meaning for me, if I want a seat at the discussion table, I gotta sit back and shut up long enough to listen. Then I can ask questions. I still might not understand. That’s okay. But here’s the clincher:

Just because I don’t understand someone, doesn’t mean I am exempt from loving them.

What’s that mean…if I love someone, does our love qualify the actions of another?

I think I’ll ask Jesus that question one day. “Hey Jesus, did your love qualify the choices in my life?” He’ll probably do a face-palm (at least that’s how I view Jesus responding to me half the time).

“No, he says. That’s not what love is meant to do.”

Love stands in authority over all things and says, “You are mine. You are loved. You are known.” Christ’s love is so perfect and freedom giving, it shook people’s very understanding of what love was and spun the foundation of their beliefs on it’s head.

The goal of love isn’t to prove something or someone is sin, it’s to trump it.

Having said all this, I’m going to err on the side of asking more questions and then listening. I’m going to trust that the Holy Spirit will interceded in the times I cannot understand. I’m going to trust him to love in ways I might not know how to love when it comes to the transgender community. I’m going to love as much as I can and when I run out and get confused and fear creeps in, I’m going to ask my God for more love.

This is how I can love better right now. The basic acknowledgment that I am not capable of loving perfectly and recognizing I am asked to pursue that, I will strive towards accountable love, even when I do not understand.

I don’t have perfect love figured out for myself, much less someone else’s life.

At the end of the day does it matter if I agree with Caitlyn? Not really. I’m sure there are lots of times we don’t understand other’s lifestyle choices, parenting choices, cultural choices. And yet we seem to hold relationships quite well. The questions are coming though. I feel them. “How will you explain it to your kids?” “How will you accept these people in your church?”

All great questions for sure. I’ll let you in on the secret answers I hold.

Nope. Got nothin’. I haven’t figured those parts out yet.

Never fear, it’s all going to be okay. Once again, I will go back to the Lord that knows my soul best about how to best love others. Thru that pursuit I will ask to know His love until it overflows for each person I think I “can’t” love because of who they are, how they’re hurt, or what I don’t understand. We’ve all got those people in our lives.

The ones we can’t forgive. The ones we can’t love. The ones we fear.

What I don’t understand I will most often times fear, but if I can grasp onto perfect love, I will fear nothing.

You Might Also Like

5 Comments

  • Reply Holly June 3, 2015 at 5:32 am

    I completely agree, Lisa, and you said it much more eloquently than I could have. I have no right to judge anyone… That whole stone-casting issue, you know.

    • Reply Lisa Marcia June 3, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      Love this Holly! Hi there! 🙂 If we are in the church we are allowed to hold others accountable. Those outside the church, we’re not called to that, you’re right. People need to feel safe to start a conversation. My listening doesn’t put a stamp of approval on a situation, although many Christians want action and outcry immediately on these topics. I think we should just shut up for a second and hear hearts. 🙂 Thank you for reading!

  • Reply Racheal Hancock June 3, 2015 at 5:42 am

    I think we misunderstand love at times. Our society calls us to love others by supporting the decisions they make. As a Christian that is not and will never be my purpose. I was called to have a sacrificial love like my Savior. I am supposed to put my life and wants of not being called a bigot aside to proclaim the truth. Does that mean we do so by bashing people, rioting, or sending hate mail? Absolutely not. But things are not grey. We like to sit in grey areas pretending to be on both sides. But the truth of the matter is if you’re in a grey area you’re not in the light. And there is no darkness in my King (1 John 1:5). This is love: 1 corin 13:4-7 “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” No where does it say “Love agrees with everyone. ” So I do not agree with what Bruce Jenner did. I do not agree with what he represents or what he claims to represent. He is no hero. However, I will not condemn him to hell (because I obviously don’t have that power) and I will not post an ugly status about him. I will not say anything other than the fact that I do not agree. If me not supporting his decision makes me a bigot to society so be it. “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” Galations 1:10

    Thank you for this post. It really made me think about love. I have had many deep thoughts and time in my bible because of it. All Christians are not bigots and all Christians do not condemn. We were called to love and speak the truth. Sometimes those two lines get crossed and we end up doing one or the other. But we must strive for both.

  • Reply Racheal Hancock June 3, 2015 at 6:15 am

    I think we misunderstand love at times. Our society calls us to love others by supporting the decisions they make. As a Christian that is not and will never be my purpose. I was called to have a sacrificial love like my Savior. I am supposed to put my life and wants of not being called a bigot aside to proclaim the truth. Does that mean we do so by bashing people, rioting, or sending hate mail? Absolutely not. But things are not grey. We like to sit in grey areas pretending to be on both sides. But the truth of the matter is if you’re in a grey area you’re not in the light. And there is no darkness in my King (1 John 1:5).
    The verse you referenced earlier John 13:34-35 says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” In this commandment He is calling us to love others as He loved us. However, if you look at a very popular account of when Jesus showed His love for the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11) all the religious leaders brought a woman before Him and said she is breaking the law we should stone her! He basically told them if you have never sinned then you be the one to throw the first stone. No one threw and everyone left. However, in the midst of the crowd Jesus stood with this woman having just saved her life and said, “Go and sin no more.” He did not tell her “Honey, what you are doing is totally your business. Do not let these men tell you who you are and what you should be doing.” No… He LOVED her. He did not want to see her perish. So, He gave it to her straight and he spoke the truth. She was a sinner and she did not need to continue down the path she was going. We can love someone and let them know what they are doing is wrong at the same time.
    This is love: 1 corin 13:4-7 “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” No where does it say “Love agrees with everyone. ” So I do not agree with what Bruce Jenner did. I do not agree with what he represents or what he claims to represent. He is no hero. However, I will not condemn him to hell (because I obviously don’t have that power) and I will not post an ugly status about him. I will not say anything other than the fact that I do not agree. If me not supporting his decision makes me a bigot to society… so be it. “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” Galations 1:10

    Thank you for this post. It really made me think about love. I have had many deep thoughts and time in my bible because of it. All Christians are not bigots and all Christians do not condemn. We were called to love and speak the truth. Sometimes those two lines get crossed and we end up doing one or the other. But we must strive for both.

    Sent on a Sprint Samsung Galaxy Note® 3

    • Reply Lisa Marcia June 3, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      Thanks for your honesty and heart in this Racheal! I agree with you that we are not called to “agree” we are called to “love.” Two different things, and that’s where the messy gray area starts to impede on my sensibilities. I like that you referenced what Jesus said in regards to the prostitute when the religious leaders brought her to Him. Interesting thing about this scenario is that he didn’t lead with “Go and Sin no more.” He first defended her as a person, as a soul. Above all else, this was his first motivation (the embodiment, the tangible sense of trust and protection). Then and only then could she trust him and hear his heart.

      My heart would be that Jesus followers stop leading with “Go and Sin no more” (in order to “save”) a person. The next would be that Jesus followers would lead with the embodiment of love. Most of us aren’t going to respond to “Go and Sin no more” without trust being part of that conversation equation. Leading with telling someone truth sometimes isn’t better than being truth to them. Words vs Actions.

      I might be off, but this is kinda how I see Christ and the religious leaders. 🙂 Thanks for reading!!!

    Leave a Reply