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Opinion: Responding to the restroom debate

By now, you have undoubtedly participated in or witnessed some level of discussion about what was once a mundane issue — which public restroom one should use.

You may still be traumatized by your experience, especially if the dialogue transpired via social media!

While I understand the elevated emotion this topic evokes, I fear the ruckus is diverting attention from the core issue. Ultimately, this is not about restrooms, transgender individuals or bigotry, and the people on the other side of the debate from you are not the enemy. Steve Holladay

I invite you to set your politics aside and consider what might be more of a kingdom perspective than the current cultural discourse is promoting.
Everyone sins. We are all equal offenders of a holy God. It is not appropriate for a follower of Jesus to condemn, mock, belittle or marginalize another human because of their sin or temptations. There is no population that should hold “worse sinners” status.

“You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?”
(Romans 2:22-23)

I suspect the vast majority of us, if not all, look to sources other than God as a basis for identity. A few common, misplaced foundations are appearance, education, performance, wealth, relationships, false persona and designated importance.

None of these is more pleasing to God than basing an identity on sexual feelings.

Identity confusion is common. We all fall prey to the lies of the enemy that convince us we are not enough, that we need to be something more or different than we are. “How God made me is not sufficient, and I need to change myself so I will be better than I am.” That belief resulted in the first humans eating the forbidden fruit. It still drives people to take matters in their own hands.
Related Article
Transgender issues: How should Christians Respond?

Gentleness, kindness, peace and patience are fruits of the Spirit. Judgement, condemnation, harshness and disgust do not reflect Jesus. It is possible to present truth in a loving way. Passion can easily be confused with anger. When communicating your thoughts it is best to ensure your tone is not mistaken. That is doubly true when speaking — or claiming to speak — for God.
It is not a political issue. It is a family of God issue. 
It is amazing how different a conversation can go when it shifts from an academic or generic context to a personal level. Engaging eye-to-eye with a family member, friend, brother or sister in Christ who is struggling with sexual identity helps move past the politics of the topic.

Make no mistake, this issue is not new, and it involves people in the pews of more churches than most might think. It is not a political issue. It is a family of God issue.

Historically, Christians struggling with gender dysphoria did so in silence due to fear. Churches did not talk about sex. They certainly did not talk about pornography, and they buried their heads in the sand regarding sexual abuse.

Given that culture, who would dare to discuss a sexual identity struggle?

This needs to change, not because our culture is screaming about it, but because Jesus is the answer. Jesus tells the truth, and truth brings freedom.
As people in whom the Spirit of God dwells, we must engage in this conversation.

But I believe we should be talking about the real issue from a kingdom perspective.

And the real issue is not about restrooms.

Steve Holladay
is the founder of Ultimate Escape, a ministry that helps young people follow God’s vision for sexuality. He has a master’s in Human Services Counseling from Regent University and has had specialty training in sexual addiction, sexual trauma and sexual identity issues. Learn more at UltimateEscape.org.

Filed under: Opinion Staff Reports Views

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