Have you ever been truly confused? Such has been the case with me more often than I care to admit. I often struggle with my ‘sense of direction.’ I remember when we took our daughter, Lindsay, to college. It was a very emotional event, especially for Joni. We enjoyed the excitement of the new adventure until it was time to say ‘goodbye.’ At which point, Joni was so overcome with emotion that she couldn’t speak without sobbing. Joni, Garrett (our son), and I drove away from the Greenville NC campus in absolute silence. But I couldn’t remember the way out and soon found myself lost, confused, and increasingly frustrated. As I reached out to Joni for assistance (this was in the day before GPS on the phone….Joni was often my guide out of confusion!) she kept waving me off. Finally, I pleaded with her, “If you don’t help me with directions, we’re going to have to just stay here at ECU with Lindz.” I think she seriously contemplated that possibility before stretching out of her grief and helping me find our way home! I know what it is to be lost and confused.
There is serious spiritual confusion in our culture today. Sadly, both in the church and outside of it! It would take an oppressively long blog post to comment on, even, a medium-size portion of it. But I sense a need to comment on a recent example of the spiritual and cultural confusion which has been ‘front and center’ in our ‘sophisticated’ society. Specifically, the legal/political controversy surrounding the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community and the use of public restrooms.
At issue is the ‘right/freedom’ of transgender individuals (those who identify with a sexual awareness at odds with their physical sexuality) to use a public restroom in keeping with their ‘chosen identity.’ Governmental leaders (like Pat McCrory, Governor of North Carolina) are fearful of sexual predators/deviants (not necessarily in/from the LGBT community) taking advantage of this ‘confusing freedom’ (confusing because most of us truly cannot imagine how individuals identify, like, Caitlyn Jenner – aka Bruce Jenner, with a sexual identity other than how they were born) to abuse/attack children or women. So they are passing legislation to keep local governments from allowing this freedom. In response, entertainers and corporations are refusing to do business with such ‘discriminatory’ states/leaders. (If you think I’ve misstated any part of this controversy, please respond to this post and let me know….I get that all the time!)
I won’t spend time on the ‘sexual/spiritual confusion’ because we are painfully aware of its source and the fact that it makes no sense. (Ephesians 4:17-19) It never has and it never will. Can we just focus on how Jesus followers should deal with this confusion? Our temptation is to mock the controversy because the folly of this confusion seems so obvious to us. We, also, think that we can just ‘out-argue’ those on the ‘wrong side’ of the issue and put an end to the controversy, because, again, the truth seems so ‘obvious’ to us. But neither of those responses has produced a spiritually beneficial outcome in previous controversies (like abortion and gay marriage), so I see no reason to think they will get us to where I believe Jesus wants us to be in this matter…..love for the lost and confused of this fallen world. (John 3:16/John 13:34, 35)
I am not suggesting we ‘throw in the towel’ and refuse to biblically discuss the issue, though, since the ‘confused’ don’t view the Bible as we do that’s not likely to persuade them. And I don’t think we should just accept their confusion as the ‘new normal’ for our ever changing world. But can we ‘love’ them by treating them with respect, kindness, and sensitivity even though we profoundly disagree with their belief? Can we pray for our leaders to have the courage, wisdom, and tact to deal with these ‘confusing issues’ without dishonoring and disregarding those our enemy (I Peter 5:8) is trying to destroy? And can we live with such love, grace, and truth that those who are deeply confused about life and their own identity are shown a ‘better way’ to live and process the confusion of life? Can we love the confused of this world the way our heavenly Father loved us in our confusion/lost-ness? (I John 4:7-12) ‘Love in truth’ and ‘truth in love’ is the only way to overcome overwhelming spiritual confusion! (I Corinthians 13:13) That has always been true!