If you haven’t heard the news, Clean & Clear recently hired Jazz Jennings, a young transgender activist, to be the new spokesperson for their most recent ad campaign, #SeeTheRealMe.
This controversial and undoubtedly risky move has the public polarized in both outrage and applause.
Furthermore, Jazz’s life is set to air on TLC in a new reality TV series titled All That Jazz.
I envision the cameras shooting the siblings’ school hallways with kids making snarky comments, but of course, also with kids actively supporting the family. Maybe I’m a pessimist, but the former is what I expect the most. I can already see the online forums, blogs and videos loaded with incredible ridicule.
But, perhaps even more heartbreaking was my realization that certainly many young children and many parents will ridicule the Jennings family in the name of Jesus. I expect many TLC viewers to write long Facebook posts, tweets, strongly worded emails and comments calling out the sinfulness of being transgender. I unfortunately also anticipate hateful words coming from the mouths of adults and kids who identify with Christianity.
Now let me first state, I do not believe God makes mistakes when He creates His children. I believe His intention was for Jazz to be her original gender: male. I believe our world is warped and broken and the Enemy is constantly on the prowl looking to dilute and disillusion us, and I believe he even disillusions people to the point of believing they were somehow mistakenly given the wrong body parts, by their Loving Creator.
Nonetheless, I do not believe Jesus ever gives us cause or command to treat anyone (disillusioned or not) with anything less than love.
Think back with me, if you will, to the time when you were first saved, when you first recognized your own sinfulness and brokenness and came before Jesus’ throne in desperation.
Did Jesus greet your broken and wicked self with ridicule and disgust? Did you feel in your soul that He was damning you forever? Did you feel rejected?
My sin, our sins, before and after we were saved are repulsive to God. They’re a cosmic slap in the face to what Jesus did for us; and they deserve His wrath.
Yet, when I came to Jesus covered in all my sin, He made me feel wanted and honored and cherished.
My wicked heart was enveloped in an inexplicable sea of kindness. The type of kindness that touches the most intimate and far parts of our souls. The type of kindness that stirs a wretched sinner to repent and turn to Jesus.
His love brought me to repentance. His love brought me to the cross where a radical life change ensued.
And had Jesus spoken insults and curses over me in my wretched and desperate state, I would have scoffed and puffed up against his hateful, yet true accusations. My soul would’ve replied with “Well, good. I didn’t want to know you anyway, God. I’m going to keep doing whatever I feel like no matter how ‘wrong’ it is.”
But, that was hardly my experience.
So, although modern medicine has given us the ability to transform our biological makeup, still nothing can transform God’s unending, unchanging, limitless love for us (whether Christian or not).
“…neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38
But, my hope in writing this is that we Christians will choose love over hate. That we would carry out the gospel in its fullest capacity, succeeding in our efforts to live out the second greatest commandment we were all taught as children:
“Love your neighbor as yourself,” Mark 12:31
I continually grow in understanding of just how warped and twisted my sinful human nature is, yet throughout my entire journey, never once has Jesus stopped loving me and treating me with kindness. Never once has He decided to stop correcting me when I sin (a necessary yet uncommon form of love). He never condemns me or curses me with offensive words. Condemnation and insult and defamation are of the Enemy.
Our job as Christians is to love God above all else, to have no idols before Him and to love each other as God loves us, to love each other as we love ourselves.
“…if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2
“…By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
So, when this show airs and when Jazz or people like Jazz cross our paths, let us choose love.
Love is patient and kind; it’s not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, it does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
This is not a call to glance over, to applaud or accept transgender as “OK.” I believe that changing your biological, God-given sex organs is contrary to God’s intentions and desires. I believe love requires us to speak out against sin and injustice and wickedness. I believe love and Christ commands us to fight with him against the depravity of this world and its darkness, which is ever growing. Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness. But love hopes. Love is kind.
Love is what will transform the lives of the broken and the misguided. Love is what will transform even the transgender, the homosexual, the heterosexual, the poor man and the rich man, the movie star and the prostitute, the college kid and the elementary school child. Love never fails anyone. Jesus will never fail to love us. He calls us to come to Him.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8