Cross-Dressing and the Christian

Have you ever run into someone in an awkward situation that was precipitated by their lifestyle choice? My family and I were recently eating in town when a man whom I had known from childhood walked in dressed in drag–complete with high heel boots, stockings, and mini skirt. This friend has made lifestyle choices that go along with his dress. We grew up in the same church, under the same preaching, and have much of the same cultural and educational background. My purpose here is not to discuss what motivates someone like this to make the choices he has made. Rather, I'd like to consider what an appropriate response for a Christian should be. How should we respond to a friend or acquaintance in a situation like this? Following are four characteristics that should characterize interactions like this.

Loving

The first thing that should characterize the believer's response to any situation is love. So, we should guard ourselves from mocking, scorning, or laughing in a way that demonstrates we have forgotten this person is made in the image of God. Demeaning behavior shouldn't characterize our interactions with any person, no matter how put-off we may feel by them. We ought to ask God to replace our proud thoughts with true love, with a heart that is concerned for the soul of this person.

Friendly

It seems appropriate in a case like this to look the person in the eye, smile, and shake his hand. To demonstrate that I still value him personally and that I can relate to him as one made in the image of God. Friendliness is not the same as love. Friendliness is also not the same as wholesale acceptance. More on this in a moment.

Reserved

What I'm not saying here is that believers should intentionally act awkward and reserved around those who are different. However, I believe it's also likely that there will be some sense of awkwardness in the greeting and in the relationship. A friend living any sort of inappropriate lifestyle–heterosexual, homosexual, drug-addicted, drink-addicted, etc.–should feel somewhat awkward around obedient Christians. Not because we don't demonstrate love and kindness, but precisely because we demonstrate concern for them while recognizing that their sin causes great harm to the image of God in them. Our response to their open sin should always be moderated by recognizing that we are sinful too and that only the grace of Christ can rescue us from our sin.

Honest

I don't believe that every conversation with an egregiously sinning friend should be about the person's sin–in fact, most of them probably shouldn't be, or you won't be friends very long! However, I do believe that we should take opportunity to lovingly confront sin in light of the relationships that God has given us. Friendliness is not the same as love. True love is opposed to anything that attacks a person's good. If there's never any open confrontation of sin, we are not truly loving our friend. Because sinful choices attack the true good of another human being, we should oppose sinful choices. Sometimes it will result in relational tension, but it should never be because I have rejected a person outright because I don't like what they've done. It must always be about God's holiness and their good. I can oppose sin in a winsome way, in a way that says, “I respect you because you are made in the image of God, but you are doing irreparable damage to that image, apart from the rescuing grace of Jesus Christ.”

Summary: winsome opposition

In summary, I believe we should winsomely oppose sin–in our children, in ourselves, and in those that sin blatantly and openly. I'm giving thought to this because I've encountered several situations like this, and I'm confident I'll encounter many more. I pray that God will help me equip my family and church to respond with truth and grace as we seek to winsomely oppose sin.

 

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3 comments

  1. I appreciate the sensitivity with which you handled this tough topic. I have been a believer for 40 years and my heart’s desire is obedience to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am in therapy because I realized after divorcing my husband of 26 years for many reasons I had thought were justified at the time, that God was also trying to reach my own heart to deal with my sin of same-sex attraction. My personal belief is that many persons who have an LGBT orientation, do not want to be in that place. But I also fear that much damage has been done to many LGBT Christians who have gone through “reparative therapy,” in hopes of curing them and turning them into heterosexuals. The apostle Paul was given a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him from being proud. He prayed to God fervently to remove the thorn in his flesh, but God denied Paul his request. (2 Cor 12:7). I believe God intends to use some of the mental or physical illnesses He allows His children to have so that He can show His great strength through their weakness. I will be attending a 27-week course that is for Christians suffering in their aloneness and pain in dealing with their unwanted sexual identity and orientation. I have been praying that God would somehow use me to reach out to others who have this same problem and whose desire it is to remain celibate until Christ either comes for His church or calls us home. The victory over sin has already been won, but until we are face to face with our Savior, we will have these daily skirmishes with the enemy. We are image bearers of God, but it is difficult to keep the mirror clean! That is where community is so important. To be the Body of Christ is to love, support and uphold each other in a non-judgmental attitude while helping each of us to face our sins, confess our sins and repent of our sins. This is the only way the Body of Christ will continue to be “built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (l Peter 2:5) I look forward to following more of your blog. Thank you for taking a stand for our God!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind remarks and transparency. It is cool to hear how the Lord has been at work in your life. I recently read a book related to this called Love into Light. It is an incredibly helpful book for those struggling with same sex attraction, as well as for the church’s understanding and ability to ministry with love and grace. I’d highly recommend it. Grace and peace to you.

      1. Hello again,
        Just wanted to let you know that I ordered and read “Love and Light.” Also bought a second copy for my therapist and she is reading it now as well. I have recommended it to others I have found through my blog. It makes me chuckle to see how far we have come in avenues to evangelize, from the early 70s when I was in Bible college. Who could have even imagined such a thing as a blog and how many people could be reached with the Gospel message!
        You said you are a pastor. Feel free to share my comment with your congregation, if you think it might help some to gain a better understanding. I would ask that you just keep my name private. Thanks.

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