The pot is officially stirred. Don’t blame Chick-fil-A. They are merely the catalyst that brought things from a slow simmer to a rolling boil. For over 48 hours the culture war has raged, and it has brought some interesting e-mails to my inbox.
I have had several people ‘come out,’ so to speak, in private emails. I will not divulge gender or even what chapter of my life they are from in order to honor their privacy. But I remember reading one letter, which in effect pleaded, “Don’t judge me. This is who I am. Why should I be made to feel guilty over who I am?”
I have seen similar comments in discussion threads as both sides try to out-debate each other. I don’t want to get into the whole ‘born this way’ debate (although I will say that being born with a predisposition towards any temptation never excuses acting on that temptation) but I do want to say that the, ‘this is who I am’ argument bothers me.
It’s not that I doubt people identify themselves by their sexuality. It’s just that building your identity around something that is as temporal as who you are attracted to is a fairly recent phenomenon.* Not only that, but the plea to not judge because “it’s who I am” is asking for a double standard to be applied.
My identity, all that I am and ever hope to be is wrapped up in Jesus Christ. He loves me. He died for me. He took my sin and gave me His righteousness. The wrath of God that I so rightly deserve for my many shortcomings? He absorbed it at the cross. My mission in life is to fulfill His desire for me to make disciples by glorifying Him in all things. My self-worth and self-image is predicated on the fact that I am made by Him in His image. Everything I do, I strive to do for Him or because of Him.
Jesus compels me to speak the truth, even when it’s unpopular.
Jesus commands me to love others, even when they revile me.
Jesus expects me to be Holy, even when I think I can’t.
Jesus deserves my obedience, even when it means telling someone what they need to hear instead of what they want to hear.
Are there times I fail to live for Jesus? Are there times I fall into the trap of selfish indulgence? Unfortunately, yes. But even the times I fail remind me of the grace by which I am saved, a grace that has captured me so completely that I desire His thoughts to be my thoughts and His will to be my will.
So when I speak out against sin of any kind, please understand, it’s not just who I am; it’s who He is in me. When I show love to someone who is deemed unlovable, it’s not who I am; it’s who He is. When I share my faith, even when the world cries out for me to keep my beliefs to myself, you must know that it’s not merely who I am; it is also who He is. When I am so bold as to proclaim that there is only one way to heaven, please bear with me, because it’s all about who He is.
Therefore, when someone says, ‘this is who I am!’ I want them to know who I am in Christ Jesus: I am loved. I am forgiven. I am purchased. I am a man under compulsion. I am not my own. That is who I am.
*Professor Mark E. Moore makes an excellent point of explaining the difference between attraction and identity in this article for the Christian Standard.