I had just graduated from high school the summer that Bruce Jenner won the Olympic Decathlon. I watched as many of the competitions as I could in those “pre-DVR” days. I was watching when he won the final event and felt proud as he stood on the highest platform, wearing his gold medal as our national anthem played. I remember the interviews, the Wheaties box and all the attention he received after the games were over.
Then, life moved on. I never paid much attention to the Kardashian media frenzy. To be honest, I thought the fascination was silly. But now Bruce Jenner is in the news because he has decided to transition from being a man in order to become a woman. The media has labeled him courageous. His children are confused. His ex-wife has been angry. We do live in a curious culture these days.
I’m not a counselor or psychologist. I’m sure there are many reasons that could be listed to explain Jenner’s choice to transition. Science and medicine want to prove that he was born that way. The culture is saying that he is brave to act on his feelings. His family is mourning the loss of who they knew him to be. Are there biblical answers for the gender issues that are populating the news?
I wish that God had been given a chance to speak his thoughts to Bruce Jenner’s identity questions. I’ve hesitated to write on the subject because I know people will say that I don’t care about how Jenner feels or that I’m not concerned about what he believes is the truth about his identity. Interestingly, the opposite is true. If I didn’t care, I would be able to go along with the current opinion that says, “If that is what he wants to do, then that is his business and who are we to speak against it.” For me, choosing to keep the biblical truth to myself would mean I did not care.
We live in a culture that idolizes the popular, regardless of why they are popular. Popularity breeds influence and in today’s Internet age, that influence can spread rapidly. Are we more “enlightened” now that the entertainment crowd is influencing the world about whom we should vote for, what we should believe and whom should be labeled “brave?” But are we enlightened when we believe that “feelings” reflect the truth about people, even when that truth stands opposed to Scripture.
I teach the Bible because I believe that it contains the truth we need to live our best lives on this planet and then in eternity. I believe God is real, perfect and loving. I believe that Bruce Jenner’s best answers for his identity crisis are found in knowing God and learning who the Lord has created and called him to be.
So, if by some chance this blog post lands in the hands of someone who knows Bruce Jenner, or knows someone with Bruce Jenner’s struggles, this is what the Bible would say to you about your identity:
2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” The most important “transition” in life is to receive Jesus as Lord and become a Christian. Our new identity is found in Christ.
Romans 12:2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” The culture will allow you to transform your body, but your soul will remain the same until you are transformed by a relationship with God. God will renew your mind.
Ephesians 4:24: “And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” The “new self” you desire is not going to be fulfilled by surgery and medicine. The new self, the new identity that can be yours is the righteousness and holiness you will find in a faith relationship with your Creator.
Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The truth is not who you believe yourself to be on this planet. The truth about who you are can be found in who you will be eternally. All who are one with Christ Jesus know themselves to be children of God. That is our identity.
Every human being struggles with who we are until we realize who our Creator made us to be. Who do you know that needs to “transition” from their former self to become a child of the King? Pray for them by name and ask God to help them find their way.