A lot of people celebrated this week. If you’ve been online, you’ve seen rainbow colors everywhere.
If you know me at all, you know my opinion about whether the Supreme Court made the correct ruling. But this isn’t a political blog; I haven’t jumped into the fray because it’s not going to change the decision either way. The country is divided 5-4, just like the nine lawyers who preside over the highest court in the land.
Amidst the conflict, I think it’s important to note one thing: our identity isn’t primarily about sexual orientation. It’s not even about gender.
Our identity is based on one, unchangeable truth:
Each of is us fearfully and wonderfully made by a loving creator. He didn’t make us for destruction, but for a specific purpose. Only I can fulfill mine, and only you can fulfill yours.
Every label someone puts on us, or a label we put on ourselves, is secondary to our real identity—God’s Beloved Creation.
Those of us who’ve accepted God’s gift of salvation also carry the identity of Coheir with Christ.
Labels are unavoidable. I’m a wife, mother, dog owner, female, music lover, heterosexual, housework-avoider… well, you get the picture. I’m stuck with a lot of labels!
How we treat people with labels contrary to our own stems largely from how deeply we understand our core identity.
As part of God’s Beloved Creation, we know that God doesn’t make junk. He loves each and every person. No matter who we encounter, we can know for sure that he or she is someone for whom Christ died.
The more deeply we understand our identity, the better equipped we are to connect with other people’s identities, because we know their inherent value depends on what God says about them, not the secondary labels they wear.
If our value were dependent on any of those other labels, that value could be tarnished. If I weren’t able to become a mother, for example, would I still have worth as a person? Or if, God forbid, something should happen to my husband and I’m not a wife anymore—does that lessen my worth? (Obvious answer, of course not).
It’s the same with any other label we wear, especially and including our sexual orientation. Nothing changes our standing as God’s Beloved Creation.
As Coheir with Christ, I understand the need for repentance of sin. I used to be pretty judgmental, especially of homosexuals. You can read about how God changed my heart here if you want.
But the more I know about the One I’m coheir with, the more I look at my own sin. I’ve heard “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” many times. You probably have too. However, I think that’s only halfway there. My heart is changing to where I love the sinner and hate my own sin more and more.
When people reached out to disciple me as a young Christian, they taught more by example than by discourse. Their lives, though not easy, were joyful because they had learned to relinquish the things that hurt them and others. As I watched them, I began to want what they had.
Today, we have the same opportunity. People won’t change their hearts because I argue with them, just like my heart would have been closed to someone else arguing to change my behavior.
It’s embracing our identity as God’s Beloved Creation and Coheirs with Christ that draw people into a deeper relationship with God. Because—and this is the exciting part—it draws us into a deeper relationship with God too!
If we want to win someone over, we must speak and act from our real identity. Using a label is divisive; if we act and speak based on labels, we’re bound to wind up looking like we ate those sour patch gummies. Who wants to be like someone with a pucker face?
The Supreme Court’s decision made a law change. That’s it. It doesn’t change who we are, our need for a savior, or our standing as God’s Beloved Creation. It doesn’t change our purpose.
Looking at those who wear different labels than us as a beloved part of creation, rather than their other labels, strips away the conflict and allows us to fulfill the Great Commission—making disciples. It allows us to walk in obedience with the command to love God with all our hearts, soul, and strength, and to love others. (Note: I didn’t say call evil good. I just said love.)
What about you? What defines your identity? What discipleship methods worked best for your spiritual growth? Please continue the discussion in the comments.