It is utterly fascinating, in a troubling and terrible sort of way, to watch the unwitting convergence of two cultural trends at this precise moment. Yesterday Adam Ford on his very helpful Christian Daily Reporter had links both for the Kavanaugh controversy (is that what its called?) and further down the page for the incredible rates of suicide amongst the teenage transgender population, and underneath that the appalling report that apparently there are real doctors in California willing to perform mastectomies on girls as young as 13 who wish to identify and live as boys.
So, for me this is obvious, but it might not be for anyone else. So I thought I’d just spell it out in three realities.
Reality Number One
Wresting sex from marriage was always a bad idea. There were always negative consequences for this choice. The west has had a jolly happy time for a hundred years, trying out the idea that sex is free and can be had by anyone anywhere. But now that happy time is over. The experiment is crash landing to a catastrophic, but eminently foreseeable conclusion. Nevertheless, unaccountably, the only true and useful solution—restoring sex to its rightful place within the marriage of one man to one woman—does not seem to be, as yet, under consideration. So that’s really too bad. Because there isn’t going to be another way that works.
Reality Number Two
Given that we have this extraordinary opportunity right before our eyes to right and restore a deconstructed and destroyed ship, to back away from the idea that there is no such thing as free sex, and to face the fact that actions have consequences, sometimes lots of years later…wouldn’t it be great to just put a lengthy pause on the mutilating of children? Because really, we don’t need any time at all to see that this is a bad idea. That a young human person whose body is being bathed daily in natural hormones, who is certainly by nature insecure, who has probably never once even heard of Jesus beyond a word tossed angrily into the air as a curse, should not be sacrificed to the god of this age, should not be cut to bits ever, but certainly not at such a difficult time in life. The cruelty of this is obvious now. Imagine what it will be when the whole world sees it the way #metoo is finally being seen.
Without a forgiveness grounded in the cross the people will perish. And I don’t just mean eternally, I mean in the isolating socially devastating very temporal reality of right now. Forgiveness without the cross isn’t humanly possible. You can say, “I forgive you,” but where does the hurt go? Either you absorb it and it potentially destroys you, or you don’t really forgive, or you turn around and hurt someone else out of your own hurt, or…it hangs out there as it is now. There is no public way for a person to repent, be forgiven, and in a basic sense, restored to humanity.
The cross though, the cross invites you to absorb the hurt and grief in yourself, but as you are crushed under the weight of it, you discover most strangely that the once intolerable burden has actually been born by someone who can bear it. It is lifted off of you by the one who purposely died because of it, and rose again, destroying its power. You can be healed and restored yourself. So when you turn around to forgive, you are offering the forgiveness of someone who is far far stronger than you. What was once painful and impossible, is now painful and possible.
Not only so, if we don’t try the cross’ forgiving way, corporately and publicly, we will end up with a class of people who, having lived by the rules and lies of a whole generation, are the only ones to be publicly shamed for those lies—when really, everyone drank deeply and fully from that death filled cup. And tragically continues to.
What a perfect time to rush out into the highways and byways with the gospel, the life saving, reality restoring, good news of Jesus who is the only one who can heal so much grief.