Once again the internet has become polarized by seemingly “trivial” news in light of the major issues facing our world. (How trivial was the dress-gate scandal that nearly broke the internet?) However, like the dress, the “Trans-Jenner” story, is such a polarizing issue, not because of our differing views on sexuality but because of our similar longing to be made new.
Hidden in Jenner’s story is our common need for the Gospel.
Let’s back up to before Jenner’s surgery and photo shoot.
As Bruce looks at himself in the mirror he knows that something is wrong with him. He is not how he is supposed to be. He believes he was designed from the very beginning of his existence to be different. But the image reflected in the mirror appears to be a distortion of his true image. Bruce longs to be made new.
Friends, this is the condition we all find ourselves in. Something is wrong with us. We are not living how we are supposed to live. We, as a people – as a society – as humanity – we were designed by God to be different than we are now. People were not meant to be hate-filled, hurtful, or evil. Humanity was designed to be loving, self-sacrificing, and kind. Our image should reflect the image of God (i.e. we were designed to be like him), but our sin has distorted our true image.
We are so passionate about Jenner’s story because we resonate with his deep longing to be made new.
We just disagree on how we can achieve this newness.
Jenner believes changing his external image to that of a woman will more clearly reveal his true image. Bruce has chosen to seek the restoring of his original self with plastic surgery.
But you or I might seek other external fixes for the problems in our life, like diet or exercise or politics or even religious rituals. Like Jenner, we long to be changed so that the image we see in the mirror will more closely reflect the image we are supposed to be.
But our true image cannot be restored by our own efforts.
The Gospel (that word means “good news”) is that Christ is making us new. Jesus changes us from the inside. Jesus takes our sinful, broken, distorted images and restores the beautiful image of God in us through his loving, self-sacrificing, work on the cross.
Jenner longs for a different body, but his own efforts of plastic surgery will not achieve a new body like the Gospel will.
In the final chapter of the Gospel story, Jesus raises us physically from the dead. (Just like Jesus was raised physically from the dead on Easter). He takes our dead and decaying corpses and breathes new life into them, transforming them physically, and giving us a brand new, glorious, transformed body and life.
Jenner’s longing to be made new can be satisfied. But it will only be fully satisfied through the Gospel. No matter whether his old body looks like a man or a woman, in Christ, God can transform that body into the body it was always meant to be.
There is good news, there is hope, and there is grace for us all.