The word gender has become something that is debated and an even more contentious topic these days. At first when we used the word gender it seemed to be clear we were talking about males and females, but now the word seems to have become more muddy.
What is unfortunate about this reality is that it is adding more heat to our conversations having to do with gender, including within the Christian community. I want to start by saying that we as believers need to be bold in expressing our beliefs about what the Bible teaches about gender and how we want those values to be a part of our nation, but today I mostly want to talk to you about coming to a place of peace in the middle of this gender war, while at the same time not holding up a white flag of defeat.
The news and twitter are largely perfect examples of how conversations are not to be had. Of course we have the freedom to communicate however we choose to, but as followers of Jesus, we have an example that we cannot ignore. We have several places in the gospels (the first four books of the New Testament) where we find Jesus pausing, responding thoughtfully, not just answering everyone's questions or attacks because they were presented. We find Jesus analyzing, asking questions, getting to the real issue of each situation. Sure, we find places where Jesus responded appropriately in righteous anger, but not every time. Some times it seems Jesus knew it would be pointless and unnecessary, beneath him even.
Since we live in a time where we have the platforms to communicate the moment a thought comes into our mind and there is a lack of respect or desire for healthy debates or communication, we might fall out of line consistent with Jesus' exemplary character. Even Jesus respected everyone's own responsibility to choose repentance and to believe and follow him as their Lord, and yet sometimes we forget to respect that in others as well. Instead we take the position of feeling personally attacked and we want to give someone a piece of our mind. Sometimes we might even take all of our frustration out on someone who is sharing what their beliefs are.
We can do better. We can be more like Jesus. We can choose when is a good time and opportunity to communicate the truth, and do it tactfully. We can have peace among believers (and non-believers) we disagree with. If someone expresses views that come against what you believe the Bible teaches about gender, we need to remember tolerance involves disagreement. Why get angry with someone because they disagree with us? Instead, let's take a step in the direction of being a light in this world, setting an example, like Jesus did of what healthy communication looks like. Let's have peace, knowing that everyone will reap the consequences of the beliefs they choose to live by, and let's have a sober awareness that we have a say in this world as well. Choosing peace means having a tranquil confidence that God is on the throne, He has established this world in such a way that allows for human freedom while at the same time consequences to come. We are commanded to be patient and loving to others, communicating the truth in the way that most resembles how Jesus exemplified doing so, effectively and always in love, whether in anger, silence, private or public rebuke, and every other way the gospels documented for us.
Sometimes the things that others say bring up feelings in us that are uncomfortable and it takes some thinking and talking through to better understand why something bothered us so. Let's take those feelings and questions before God and seek out the truth peacefully without feeling the need to take it out on someone else. Remember, we should pray for people to come to the truth. God is working in people's lives. We need to be patient with them and be ready when God wants to use us to reach those people. We know there is a spiritual warfare going on in this world, but we also know God will never be defeated, and He is the one we need to come to more often for guidance as we are in the middle of this gender war on this side of eternity.