Did you ever see the documentary about Navy SEAL training? It convinced me that SEALS have a tremendous capacity for suffering.
At one point you see them shivering from the freezing waters. This isn’t the shivering you and I do on a February North Carolina day. Their entire bodies are shaking-their hands, their heads, and their legs. Given their strength and tenacity, it is understandable that these highly trained men can accomplish amazing feats like infiltrating Osama bin Laden’s compound or rescuing Pvt. Jessica Lynch.
It makes me wonder if they could pull off another amazing feat in my lifetime. Can they rescue Jesus from the haters? The group who embraces criticism and division, has taken His name, twisted His words and distorted His message. The great Savior of the world who preached a message of love, forgiveness, and perhaps most of all, acceptance of the disenfranchised, is being used to condemn, criticize and castigate our fellow man.
He who said, “First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye,” is the podium on which people stand in judgment to determine who is right and who is wrong.
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“Let he who is without sin be the first to throw a stone” is ignored. “Judge not, that ye be not judged” is forgotten because, well, certain hate mongering individuals just know better.
The pastor of my church felt inclined to preach a message about a high-profile individual who did not identify with the sex into which she was born. Initially I was glad he was going to address this subject. So many negative messages have been directed toward this individual. I was ready to hear him reiterate the message about the command to love one another.
Instead, he surprised me. This highly educated minister chose the easy route, and pandered to the haters. He said the word “him,” “Bruce” and “man” several times before I left the building.
Part of love is respect. If someone has asked you to call them by a certain name and you choose to call them differently, is that being respectful? Is that showing love? If a person in your life has chosen for whatever reason to change their name, wouldn’t it be respectful to try and adapt to the name? Wouldn’t it show a level of care?
My pastor shared a message of intolerance and judgment. It was all packaged with a thin coating of “we would love him if he were here.” His pronoun usage indicated this wasn’t a message of love but hostility. I would like to ask this pastor, “If this high-profile individual had been in the church hearing your message, would they have felt love?” The pastor may want to watch the video of his sermon again before answering.
Is there any easier group to bully than transgender individuals? If we find ourselves wanting to share a bullying message, doesn’t that say more about us than them?
I wonder why we are given such judging brains and then told not to judge. Why are we given the ability to hold onto memories, but told to turn the other cheek? This Christian walk can be difficult. It goes against our baser instincts in many ways. It doesn’t allow us a feeling of superiority or an “I am better than you” attitude.
It reminds us we all have our crosses to bear and compassion goes a long way when dealing with our fellow man. We all have at least a speck in our eye.
If you are like my pastor and feel the need to discuss the decision made by this individual, I have another Christian message for you, and this one comes from my maternal grandmother. Here are its variations in escalating order: “mind your own beeswax,” “it’s none of your business,” and finally after incessant questions she would say, “How about a cup of mind your own d--- business?!”
Wasn’t she a hoot? My grandmother had been the victim of judging eyes and so had a particular soft spot for those she saw being persecuted. She didn’t stand on a soapbox and tell you what to think. She said to stop thinking about that person. It’s none of your business what they choose to do. MYOB is in this case a deeply religious message.
If you happen to have a transgender person in your life and are struggling with what to call them, and you want them to feel loved, call them what they want to be called.
You can reach Mary Carey at firstname.lastname@example.org