Ambushed, Part 1
‘Do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do so with gentleness and respect…’ (1P 3: 14b, 15)
Gay Pride Month is upon us, and our queer nation is prouder than ever. From Neil Patrick Harris dazzling Broadway as a pissed-off drag queen to Obama successfully persuading federal and state officials to overturn traditional marriage laws, we the people are now post-Christian in what we believe about gender and sexuality.
That was obvious to my son and me when we recently visited Washington DC. Tourists like us intermingled with gaggles of gay-identified men whose bright outfits and bold displays of affection waved like flags declaring victory: ‘Our opposition has scattered and we now advance, unfettered and unashamed.’
If only it were so simple. I am convinced that no amount of legislation can resolve the conflict at the core of gender-bending. Deeper than animated expressions of solidarity lies an emptiness only Jesus can fill; that was evident in their boyish searching glances, the insecurities no temporary lover can assuage. Only Jesus can make solid the fault-line on which same-gender couples seek in vain to become one, or one gender seeks to become the other.
In what appears to be our defeat in the battle for gender clarity in the public square, we must remember: Jesus rose from the dead as Lord of Life so that we might rise and impart His real life to those most in need of it. That applies pointedly to the gender-conflicted. To whom will they turn: the community that invites transformation through Jesus Christ, or a host of secular solutions that goes only skin-deep?
But how we can we offer that gift if we feel ambushed—frightened and seemingly cornered by the opposition? Our greatest temptation will be fear: fear of the power of the ‘gay’ juggernaut advancing mercilessly wherever it wants. A female friend who deals with SSA expressed the threat she feels when around tough–looking gay-identified women; I confess my fear that several gay-identified friends seem more resolved than ever to celebrate their sexual liberties rather than repent unto Christ Jesus.
We must quiet our hearts and go deeper into His heart. Peter exhorts us; instead of abiding in fear, he urges us to ‘set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts.’ That means not abdicating the truth that Jesus is still Lord over all. Instead of a tight defensive space, God has landed us on spacious ground. From there, we can see clearly and extend humbly the truth of His love as the only real base for the gender-conflicted.
I don’t know about you, but when I feel ambushed I go into survival mode. Shrill, angry, and controlling, I become the bad news. Peter reminds us that we will be bitterly opposed, but assures us that we, centered on Christ, can be the good news to our adversaries. Who knows? Deeper still, they may nourish an acutely felt need for more of this Jesus. He frees us to hold out our hope respectfully, with the same gentleness He showed us in our defensive wanderings.
‘A gentle answer turns away wrath…Man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life God desires.’ (PR 15:1; James 1:20)