The song, “I’m Yours”, by Jason Mraz, is catchy and cute. But in the middle of the song, one line stood out like a sore thumb. It was so out of place, it was obvious that Mraz didn’t know the meaning of the key word in the phrase. While trying to convince his audience to look inside and be more loving, he makes this claim:
“It’s your god-forsaken right to be loved loved loved loved loved.”
Taking this lyric as written, it means that we have a right to love or be loved because God has abandoned it. An excellent example of the meaning of “forsaken” is one of the statements made by Jesus on the cross, as recorded in both Matthew and Mark: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
This is an amazing statement. When Jesus took upon Himself the sins of the world to pay the price for our sins, His heavenly Father had to separate Himself from His only begotten Son.
While I leave you to ponder that statement (volumes could be and have been written on the subject), let’s return for a moment to Jason Mraz. To his credit, he realized his error after the song was recorded. No, he didn’t stage a massive recall and pull back all the copies that were already sold. But on his website, he has stated that he has changed the key phrase to “god intended right”.
Mraz merely demonstrated what is true for all of us. In our human nature, we are all prone to error. Yes, that forces me to admit that there will be errors in what I post, though I study and pray so that my endeavor will be free from them. Indeed, I edit what I write before posting, even multiple times.
But God is not an “oops God”. How could error possibly enter into the plans and actions of an all-knowing and all-powerful God?
God doesn’t make mistakes. The interesting thing is that when it comes to the debate on how God views transsexuals, both sides have used this argument to bolster their position.
Those who consider it a sin focus on the physical: for example, if God made a person with male genitalia, then that person must be a man, period, end of story. For those who claim that it is not sin, the focus is on the mental: for example, if God gave me a female brain, then that is who I am, regardless of the physical body with which I was born. In previous posts, I have argued as to why the latter position is the correct one. Therefore, it is the position I hold.
But in this post, I will go beyond what I have previously written on the subject. If we are out and about in the world on a regular basis, we see obvious examples of people born with bodies that have a defective part and we may know such people personally. Reading the news on the Internet, it won’t be long before we come upon a story with the same topic. So this is a fact without controversy. The question is, what does the Bible say about correcting such imperfections when medical science has a way to do so?
I have been blessed by a number of Christians who I have told about my transition. One of those blessings has been the thought-provoking questions they have asked and the interesting discussions that we have had.
A Christian client who showed her support to me early on had no problem with me changing my name and my external style and expression of myself. To her, these actions were not sinful. But she demurred when it came to me changing my body in any way. Her reason was that God does not make mistakes.
Of course, I disagreed. But at that moment, I did not argue the point. No scripture verse came immediately to mind to use.
As is common for me, the verses were laid on my heart after a short interval had passed. (Or perhaps they were there when I was talking to my client, but I didn’t see them right away. I need to pray about this. In other situations, like coming up with puns, my associations come quickly.)
What came to mind was the account of a man who was born blind as recorded in the ninth chapter of John’s Gospel. When Jesus and His disciples come upon this man, his disciples asked Jesus about him: “And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” (verse 2)
Sometimes you can learn as much from what is not there as from what is there. Notice that they did not ask why God made him this way.
And they correctly tie his birth defect to sin. Where they fall short is in their limitation of the choices given to Jesus. Given those two choices, you or I might have used logic and seized upon the obvious choice. It had to be the parents’ sins. After all, how could this man’s future sins affect how he would be born?
Jesus does not allow Himself to get boxed in by the limited choices. He replies that the cause was not the particular sins of either the man or his parents. Rather it was so “the works of God should be made manifest in him.”
The works of God referred to by Jesus were not his birth condition. Instead, this particular work was the miraculous healing that Jesus performed on the man. God did not create him blind. He allowed it so that it would be one of many confirmations of Jesus’ ministry and the power of God in Him, as well as the man giving testimony to these things.
If the disciples correctly tied his birth defect to sin, but it was not the sin of him or his parents, then whose sin was it? It was the sin that came into the world with man’s disobedience to God that allowed Satan a foothold in the world by which he could corrupt God’s perfect design of the human body. So we must be careful not to think that God caused this man to suffer for many years for His own purposes. Rather, God made use of the suffering we brought upon ourselves by giving into the temptation of sin. This man was not singled out. He was representative of birth defects that would occur many times before he was born and many times after.
Of course, I was happy that I had been given a passage of Scripture that applied to the discussion I was having with my client. But then I received a check in my spirit. What if correcting a birth defect is only something that God is allowed to do and that on earth, only the Son of God could do? It didn’t take long before another passage of Scripture was laid on my heart.
In Acts 3, after the ascension of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit had filled His disciples, Peter and John, come upon a man who had been born lame. What was translated as lame was actually two words in the original Greek. The phrase is “huparcho cholos”. Cholos is the word that is directly associated with the crippling defect that prevents or greatly hinders walking. It literally means to be missing a foot or to be otherwise maimed. The meaning of huparcho is to be, to begin or to come forth as. In other words, he was lame from the beginning of his being.
God wants us to make sure that we know this man was born this way, because later on in the same sentence, we are told that he was lame “from his mother’s womb.” Four very different Greek words comprise that latter phrase, none being huparcho.
We are then told that this man was carried daily to the gate of the temple called Beautiful. Unable to even stand let alone work, he would beg for whatever charity the people coming to the temple might give so that he could survive.
Peter and John arrive at the time of public prayer. Apparently this was an active time, because Peter and John had to get his attention away from the others passing by. The man expects a tangible gift. They have nothing tangible to give, but they have something far greater.
Here is how it is described in Acts 3:6-10: “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.”
Once again as a testimony to those who knew this man (and for all who would read and receive these words), he who from birth was unable to stand was now able to do more than just walk. He was able to leap for joy as he praised God. Wouldn’t you if it happened to you?
I did not transition to be happy. I did it to be authentic. But is it any wonder that the people who know me well give testimony that I am so much happier now? Is it any wonder that in worship I am so much more joyful as I praise God for everything that He has done for me, things far beyond opening my eyes to the knowledge that the Bible does not condemn me for transition?
The next time I met with my client, she told me that she had come to the conclusion that even if God makes us a certain way, it doesn’t necessarily mean it cannot be changed. I still took the time to share with her the scripture passages that confirm that position. (As we talked outside for quite some time, I also learned that nude pantyhose doesn’t make an effective sunscreen. But that is a different topic.)
One final point that needs to be made: just because I refer to being born transsexual or blind or lame as examples of birth defects, does not mean that it is something to be ashamed of or that it wasn’t supposed to be that way. I believe that God allowed me to be born transsexual for a purpose. It is a purpose that I pray I can fulfill.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21