What if the Adulterous Woman in John 8 was Transgender?
I love the story of the adulterous woman found in John chapter 8 of the Bible. It is a magnificent picture of God’s scandalous grace.
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4 they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” 6 They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” (NASB)
We don’t think much about adultery these days because it has become so prevalent in our society. It’s not against the law anymore (except in the military). Unfortunately it happens more than it should, even within the Church. But in Jesus’ time, under the Mosaic Law, it was a capital offense, punishable by death. It was not taken as lightly as it is today.
This woman’s life hung in the balance as she was cast down before Jesus. I would love to know what He wrote in the sand but the Bible doesn’t tell us. What it does tell us is that He was able to dismiss the angry crowd ready to kill a woman because she had been caught in sin. It tells us that He didn’t condemn her and that He did instruct her to leave that destructive path she was on.
But what if she had been a transgendered woman?If this story were being told today, adultery may not be the issue at hand. It could be an LGBT person, an abortionist or a Muslim. The point isn’t the adultery anyway. The point is the willingness of the crowd to kill a woman because she had broken the law. According to the crowd no mercy was to be shown. I see that same spirit in numerous Christians today.
So, what if the woman was a transgender?
I write this because of the insane amount of banter going on in the cyber world over Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. What breaks my heart is the outlandish hatred and condemnation coming from my fellow Christians. What the Pharisees and religious people of Jesus’ day didn’t see was a woman — a fellow human being. They saw a law-breaker, one that sinned, one deserving to die. Jesus helped them to see that, yes she did sin, just differently than those with rocks in their hands. As Christians, do we see a human being or do we see a “law-breaker”?
The issue for me is not whether I agree with Bruce’s decision or not. My opinion doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that so many people are digusted by his decision that they have stopped seeing a human being that is clearly struggling with identity issues. Instead they see a disgusting, perverted man that should be “stoned” for his actions. While we may not be picking up physical rocks, our words are like projectiles that can still hurt and even kill.
So what if Caitlyn Jenner was the one thrown at Jesus’ feet that day with conservative, good-fine church folk all standing around with rocks in their hand describing to Jesus the sins of the day!
Have we forgotten that we too have issues in our lives? Maybe we haven’t changed our physical appearance but we sure do tend to wear a lot of masks in an effort to hide our true selves.
Many of us are not in touch with our authentic selves and we would never let others see the real us for fear of being stoned ourselves. So, we wear masks to make people think we are different than we really are. We wear masks of piety, humility and good religiosity so that our fellow church members will think we are spiritual. We wear masks to hide the pain, the questions, our doubts and fears that we dare not let anyone know about. We are too afraid they will hold it against us.
There have been many Christians burned by fellow Christians for simply being real and honest, for simply expressing doubts or fears or simple “what ifs.”
Too many people within the Church have an identity problem. Because we don’t really know our true identity as sons and daughters of God, we are quick to judge, condemn and kill those around struggling with identity issues. We wear masks because we have identity issues as well. We just haven’t changed our physical appearance, but we’ve masked ourselves.
So, Caitlyn Jenner is at the feet of Jesus with some of the American Church gathered around ready to force her to change back to Bruce Jenner and stop this whole mess . . . or else.
I believe Jesus would do the same thing He did then. I believe He would dismiss the crowd of judgmental critics. I believe He would not condemn Caitlyn, as Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn the world but to save it. And I do believe He would tell her to go and sin no more. I believe he would help her with her identity. Whether he would tell her to change back or not I don’t know, and I don’t care. What I do care about is how Jesus treats people because that’s how I want to treat people.
All I know is that Bruce Jenner walked a path I know nothing about. My opinions do not matter in this case. What I do know is that my job is to love him/her as Christ as loved me. And I am to leave the rest unto Jesus. I am not here to debate right or wrong. I am here to argue for love (which doesn’t always mean agreement), rather than hate.
This blog isn’t in defense of sex change operations, being gay or cross-dressing. I am not interested in the culture war. I am interested in helping hurting people find the loving, saving grace of their Heavenly Father. I am interested in helping to understand and bear another’s burden. I am interested in becoming like Jesus who suffered as a human, therefore He is qualified to know the struggles of humanity. I am interested in how I can become a better human being by following the ways of Jesus.
I don’t believe that a lot of what I am reading on Facebook, Twitter and the blogs is what Jesus would say.