I read a deeply disturbing article online yesterday about a small, but growing segment of society that has come to be known as “transabled.” According to the article, these people seem to feel they do not “fit” in a healthy, whole body. Instead, they long to be disabled in some way. So much so, that they will injure themselves in order to accomplish that desire. I don’t know that I’ve heard anything so bizarre in my life, though there has definitely been an increase in bizarre behavior these days. We have heard much about the transgender people who feel they were born the wrong gender, and some who go so far as to say they feel they should have been born as an animal instead of a human. As I was pondering these things yesterday, trying to make some sense of them, trying to understand what the root of these issues is, it became clear it had to do with identity.
It seems to me that the whole world is struggling with identity. This thought led me to consider the Church, for I have heard it said many times, “As the Church goes, so goes the world (or nation).” It is clear in Scripture that God ordained the Church to be the change agent of the world. We are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. We are the ones who are to make Jesus known to the lost, to carry on the mission He began over 2,000 years ago. That was His commandment in the Great Commission. In some ways, we have done well, but in others, not so much. Over the past several years, the Church seems to be having her own identity crisis.
Our nation is more divided now than perhaps ever in her history. The same can be said about the Church. Not only do we have myriads of denominations, but we have added labels to those as well. Progressive, conservative, fundamentalist, traditionalist, liberal, and so on. We are indeed a sadly fragmented body. And the world sees and knows it, at least to some degree, by our words and actions. One of the biggest problems, as I see it, is that we have strayed from the foundation of the Word. We have embraced the interpretations of men rather than the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We have gathered teachers who tell us what we want to hear – Paul called it, the tickling of the ears – rather than the truth, in love. In the name of political correctness, we have become tolerant of that which God hated so much, He took it upon Himself at the cross.
When those who claim to follow Christ embrace the practices of abortion, homosexuality, pornography, adultery, and other such behaviors, we have clearly departed from the commandments of God. Whether we commit such behaviors ourselves, or we endorse leaders, both in the Church and in our govenment that do, we are nonetheless condoning that which God has condemned. He condemns the sin, not those who are trapped in bondage to it. The consequences of our choices, I believe, have greatly contributed to the chaos we are now living in. In many ways, sadly, the world has become a reflection of those who are called to a counter-cultural way of life.
Thankfully, because of the blood of Christ that was shed for our sin, we still have hope. No person, people group, or nation can wander so far that His blood cannot reach, redeem, and restore. Only the Spirit of God can heal and unify His fragmented body so that we can be the salt and light we are destined to become. Only the love of the Bridegroom can woo a spiritually adulterous bride to totally surrender her heart and affection to Him. Only our loving heavenly Father can conform us to our true identity.
He has given us incredible power and authority to see the changes we are longing for come to pass – it is called prayer. We have no excuse if we fail to use it. The consequences of our identity crisis are becoming ever more costly. We can blame and point the finger at everyone else if we want, but He has given the earth to us. (Ps. 115:16) It is our great privilege and responsibility to properly steward all that He has given to us. He is always there to help us, if we are simply willing.