Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Male and Female He Created Them

Sitting on the filing cabinet in my office is a set of Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.  When I was in my twenties I ordered them from someone who made them.  It was a reminder of my childhood and the beloved characters.

I realized when I was looking at them recently that the stitching on their faces is exactly the same.  There is no defining features that distinguish them as boy or girl, except for their clothes.

In light of today’s culture that revels in attempting to meld distinct genders into one neutral gender, my dolls duplicated faces gave me reason to pause.

It really is a confusing time.

We have been created male and female by God, who knew what he was doing when he fashioned us into being.  My heart pours out to people today who are struggling with gender identity issues.  I am truly sad for their pain and the challenge they have of trying to live in a body that doesn’t feel like it matches who they sense they are.

I believe that we cannot really know what it feels like to feel so disconnected, if we are not living it.  To wake up every day and look like a woman, yet feel like a man (or vice versa) must be hard.

The only sound response to this deep, interior suffering is love.  Whatever someone is suffering, whether it be gender-identity issues or mental or physical pain, judgment and blame do not ease the pain.  

And love is really the only response the suffering person can offer back to God.  A love that is steeped in their trust in him, gratitude for the strength he provides, personal sacrifice in imitation of the sacrifice of Christ, and the grace to carry their cross while trying to live faithfully as they were created.

Loving is not the same as agreeing with, and the two must not be confused.  I think when people judge and hate, they don’t understand this.  Loving stands above everything, and that loving can indeed be complicated.

Am I loving if I withhold truth from a close friend, or am I more loving to be silent?

Christian writers, teachers and preachers, are among those who have a responsibility to continue teaching what we know to be true—that God has created us and has given us human bodies—male and female—and he has designed us in such a way that through a loving union with our spouse, we can share in his divine act of creation.

But everyone may not see it this way, accept it, or understand it.  That being the case, Christians still have a responsibility to write, teach and preach the truth.  However, imposing judgment upon someone while doing so is sinful in itself. 

The gift of union between a man and a woman and the ability to create new life out of this union is a beautiful gift God has given us.  Only a loving God could have set in motion this kind of arrangement. 

But let us not diminish the fact that God is no stranger to pain and suffering.  Jesus—the Son of God!—in his faithfulness to the Father’s plan, suffered terribly in his human body.  He offered himself for us, defeating death and showing us that when we offer our struggles for others, our suffering is not empty. 

If this is God’s plan, that man and woman imitate his loving act of creation, then why is it that some married couples are unable to have children?  

That is a good question that I do not have the space to cover today, except to say that in our human nature we will always have struggles and the key is to remain faithful to God and what he has revealed, unshakably confident that he is always present to us, and ever hopeful that by being faithful, we will one day enjoy eternal life with him.

Janet Cassidy

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