With Easter having just passed, it seemed an appropriate title. On what we call Good Friday, Jesus didn’t just HANG on the cross. Think about that. What kept Jesus from falling off the cross? He wasn’t tied to it and they didn’t give His feet this big ledge to stand on. He was NAILED to it. The nails in His hands and in His feet are what held Him up. If the pain of having the nails driven through His body wasn’t enough, then the constant pull of gravity against His own bodyweight created even more and constant pain as his bloody flesh and muscle tried to tear. And yet… Jesus said “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.” And after hours of agony He cries out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I like how the Christian Standard Bible translates it as “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
I think many Christians who are transgender understand that feeling of being abandoned, that feeling of being orphaned whether it comes from one’s family or the Church. I see all over the web how folks who are Christians say they no longer believe in God after being treated poorly by other Christians simply for being transgender, and it’s an easy trap to fall into. But if how people treat you make you walk away from God, your problem isn’t with people. Your problem isn’t even with God. Your problem is with you. The Church isn’t God. He doesn’t exist only in buildings with crosses on top of them. Your relationship with God shouldn’t be based on your relationship with those that claim to follow Him. I came close to falling into that trap a long time ago and yes, it did affect my relationship with God but I never thought that as a result of what happened that it meant there was no God. I knew that what happened to me was done by PEOPLE, not God.
When Jesus was on the cross, the very fact that He cried out to God on the cross shows He wasn’t denying God even in His moments of agony. Jesus was asking God “why have you left me?” Christ was accustomed to having God’s presence with Him all the time, and in this final moment the Father had to turn His back as His Son hung there (it’s an entire sermon onto itself, you can look it up or ask your Pastor.) My point is that the Father was always there.
When Christians, not knowing any better (for they know not what they’re doing) cast out, reject, ostracize or in any other way make a Christian who is transgender feel unwanted BECAUSE they’re transgender, well – “they don’t know what they’re doing.” They’re ignorant, and yes their intolerance is the very definition of the word bigot. But let me give you a newsflash – THEY ARE NOT GOD! Sometimes Christians who are expected to show Christ’s love and compassion will fail you in the biggest possible way. They – are – people. They are not God. He hasn’t given up on you and He hasn’t even turned His back on you – it just may feel like it because some of His children have. Well, over time hopefully those children will come to realize they were wrong in treating you as they did. They’re Christians, just not PERFECT Christians. Don’t take this the wrong way – but neither are you. NONE of us are.
When someone mistreats you and you feel like you’ve been hit – it’s natural to want to hit back, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the right thing to do. When you feel mistreated by Christians, whether it be personally or indirectly via the media – firing back at them DOESN’T make them love you more nor does it make you more lovable. It doesn’t show them the Christ within you. I know you’re hurt, I know you’re feeling alone. THAT is when we need to turn to our Father who will NEVER abandon us and NEVER forsake us. He has nothing better to do than be your friend. And that is when you turn to Him and ask Him to forgive those who have wronged you. The Bible says in Luke 6:27-28 to “…Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” And yes, I know that there are verses those Christians need to hear as well, and they will. That’s why we pray for them and let the Holy Spirit speak to their hearts.
God is there for you, Matthew 11:28 Jesus says “come to me all who are weary and carry heavy burdens”, so when you feel abandoned by Christians, just remember that 1) you haven’t been abandoned by ALL Christians (though it may feel that way) and 2) God is always there for you. Always.