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?
We grow – we learn and as we learn we grow. I thank God everyday for that!
He knows, I was raised with many road blocks set in my path to understanding Him and what He wanted from me (I am still learning). My parents loved me, and did the the best they knew how (but, what they knew was limited). Everything not the “norm” was wrong and the bible was used (not opened and read) but more like the ol’ “because I said so” I was the rebellious sort, and through the years I’m afraid ‘disappointed’ my parents on many occasions. Friends of the “wrong color” to “music for weirdos and drug addicts” Today, at 60, I know and treasure my friendships that include gay men and women. I’ve known a transgender female to male–and the pain in her heart in just trying “TO BE NORMAL” and find acceptance through the painful journey. And so many of my Gay friends, love God yet can’t find an accepting church for worship. (though I’ve been told, some they did find they felt unfitting as in practice/doctrine etc). Gods children don’t come “some perfect some not”…Gods children are ALL broken and in need of repair. I pray I am forgiven for my years of ignorance and judging…I would most gladly sit next to a ‘transgender’ or a gay man or woman in church…and I would welcome them with a genuine heart. I am only the other broken soul sitting next to them–nothing more. By God’s loving grace walk I.
I am blessed by your comments. Slimpickins72. Thank you.
The enemy has been relatively successful in making Christians look intolerant of those that live outside God’s standards. The Devil has to do this to achieve his plan, this is why Christians are seen as intolerant! There are people that claim Christ yet would reject her because they have developed a distinction between their sin and Nancy’s, they have established a hierarchy of sins from not so bad to intolerable. However they would be the ones that Jesus would say “depart from me for I never knew you!” those who follow Christ’s example would take Nancy in, except her and love her with true love. Our responsibility is to minister to her primary need and that is living without Christ. She was a beautiful creation of God and only God’s love could have healed her and God choose to use us to display His love to people like Nancy. Jesus help us to love as you love.
Thank you for this post, it is a good post for reflection.