On January 29, 2015 the Idaho House of Representatives State Affairs Committee voted 13-4 to not pass House Bill No. 2 (2015) on to the full House.
House Bill No. 2 (2015) has become known as the “Add the Words” bill. Sponsors of the bill were asking that Idaho add four words to the Idaho human rights law; “Gender Identity” and “Sexual Orientation”. There is no doubt this discussion has to be had. There is no right place in the world where any person should have to live in fear of fellow citizens because of how they want to live their lives, especially in the United States of America.
Where I’m strongly opposed to adding this kind of description to Idaho code and law, I’m equally opposed to treating another sinner as a lesser person because their sin is not like my sin.
Even if a bill of this nature is never passed into law, how does the church love all of her neighbors?
If you haven’t had this discussion in your church it is past time to have it. If you haven’t had this discussion with your public school educated children you need to make a plan for that to happen, today. If you haven’t had this discussion with your private Christian school educated children you may be too late. If you haven’t had this discussion with your home-school educated children it’s past time to make it part of the curricula. If you haven’t talked about this within the light of Scripture you will likely be persuaded by emotionalism and be derailed and unable to think properly and biblically on the matter.
Here are some things worth discussing and acting upon.
1. Pray: This may seem to simplistic, but if you are not aware of your need to ask God for discernment and boldness in this matter you are likely poised for a serious stumble and fall in this difficult and complex matter.
2. Know Truth: If we are going to be able to have any kind of real discussion on the matter we must know what the Bible teaches on matters of sexual deviance.
3. Speak Truth: This kind of discussion must be weighed in the balance for every parent and the appropriate age of your children. (Parents: It is my experience and opinion that if your children are in any education system outside of your home, Christian or public, it is not too early to begin talking to them. If your children are not under your direct and immediate care you must be prepared to give an answer to your children’s influence.)
4. Speak the Truth in Love: If the idea of gender identity or sexual orientation is repulsive to you then know why it is. If it’s not related to the holiness of God then it’s possible you are rarely repulsed by your own sin and are pridefully repulsed because someone is not as ‘good’ as you are. If this is the case, you will not be able to speak the truth in love.
5. Never Condone Bullying: An amazing truth of the Christian faith is that we do not coerce or bully anyone into believing like you do. If someone doesn’t believe like we do we don’t treat them like a lesser human. We may appeal and plead but be are not to bully. Listen, Christian, we need to come to grips with the fact that we must not take on the persona of being a ‘red-blooded’ American. If you have not abandoned your sinful snarky comments when speaking about homosexuals and transgenders then you must understand that it is among the most unhelpful things you can do for yourself, your children and your neighbor. It does not represent the Lordship of Christ.
6. Speak the Gospel: This is your only hope in really helping your neighbor. Remember that your sin is worthy of the full wrath of God. Never forget this. The reality of the kindness of God and the weight of his glory will help you speak the gospel with compassion to your neighbor.
7. Love God: The Lord Jesus Christ told us this was the most important command. If we don’t get this, we don’t do anything, ever, rightly. Submit to the Lord Jesus Christ. Look at the holiness of God and don’t forget of the grace given us because Christ loved us first.
8. Love Your Neighbor: Yes, that even means you love your transgender neighbor. If you work with homosexual or transgender coworkers, be as kind to them as you are to others. Not more kind because they are not like you and surely not less kind. If a transgender coworker sits down next to you in the break room during lunch, be as willing to trade your salad for their peanut butter and jelly sandwich like you would any other coworker. Treat your transgender neighbor the way you would any other neighbor. He or she does not deserve your discriminating treatment, it’s actually already against the law. He or she is created in the image of God no more or no less than you. His or her sins are as able to be covered by the blood of Christ as your own wretchedness.
9. Pray and hope for Conversion: If any coworker, neighbor, family member repents of their sin, be prepared to help disciple them. Be prepared to be their only friend and be prepared to face criticism from others because of your kindness toward a converted sinner. It likely took some time for people to become comfortable with the professed conversion of the apostle Paul.
10. Prepare for the Unexpected: There is likely a moment of awkwardness for everyone involved. One of the main arguments at the hearings this past week in Boise was the use of public restrooms. Fist of all, don’t fool yourself by thinking harmful things can’t happen in public restrooms. Homosexuality and/or transgender behaviors are not the only sexually deviant activity happening in your community or church activity. Not every homosexual or transgender person going in to or out of a public restroom have been up to some sinful activity, they most likely were doing the same thing you were about to do.
11. Smile and be friendly: This may feel unusual or fake to you, but remember, you are an ambassador of Christ with every smile, hand shake, door you hold open and word you speak.
I don’t suggest these thoughts as the only thing or a minimum of things one should do or think about. I offer them for discussion and help.
Luke 22:31-32 (NASB)
31 behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”