Take moment to read these short news stories from The Telegraph: (1) “Belgian killed by euthanasia after a botched sex change operation” and (2) “Mother of sex change Belgian: ‘I don’t care about his euthanasia death’“.
In an attempt to put back together a broken image that only God in Christ can, Nathan, born Nancy, Verhelst lost her way. This story touched me deeply. What would healing from God look like for this individual? Would they become a man or a woman after God heals them? Who decides? This story speaks in loud ways about the depth of our individual and corporate depravity as God’s image bearers. A couple of questions came to me while reading this story that I would like to share with you.
- Is our church capable of dealing with the many people who live all around us broken beyond our ability to “fix”? Am I?
“Mr Verhelst had hormone therapy in 2009, followed by a mastectomy and surgery to construct a penis in 2012. But “none of these operations worked as desired“.”
When I consider the depth of hurt and pain involved in this persons life the only hope I see for them is Jesus. Would my local church be capable of being the hands and feet of Christ to Nancy? Would my church culture be capable of being a seedbed of the Gospel for her troubled soul?
“While my brothers were celebrated, I got a storage room above the garage as a bedroom. ‘If only you had been a boy’, my mother complained. I was tolerated, nothing more.”
“When I saw ‘Nancy’ for the first time, my dream was shattered. She was so ugly. I had a phantom birth. Her death does not bother me,“
While reading this I was bothered by how cold her mother was and indifferent to her child’s plight. I was also bothered by how simple it is for the government to offer Nancy the hope of death.
“Belgium recorded a record number of 1,432 cases of euthanasia in 2012, up 25 per cent from the previous year and the country is currently deciding whether to extend “mercy killing” legislation to children.“
Ask yourself honestly, how would your church handle this person if they came to find comfort in The Message of the King in and among His community? I am afraid many “conservative” churches would sound more like the mother or Belgium than they would the voice of Jesus. It seems I hear such a cry for horrors of abortion in and among my Christian brothers and sisters but so little for the children who try to live and grow up in world that wants and offers to abort them because it cannot fix them.
- Is my church considerate of the complexity of human sexual identity in an inconsiderate way? Am I?
“I was ready to celebrate my new birth,” he told the newspaper. “But when I looked in the mirror, I was disgusted with myself. My new breasts did not match my expectations and my new penis had symptoms of rejection. I do not want to be… a monster. ”
Imagine a church that wanted to build a ramp for wheelchairs but made it too narrow for any wheelchairs to use. Have we said, to those who are struggling with their sexuality in one way or another, “we welcome you.. if you fit”
Look around your church. Think about the people who fill your Sunday morning worship service and ask yourself this… “Would Nathan, born Nancy, Verhelst fit in and among your local church family?” Would she be allowed to be a disciple? Get married? Would she be wanted? If his or her story wouldn’t fit in and among or even be wanted in our church communities what good is our singing, praising, preaching and doctrine?