#TRENDING: How Should We Respond To The Gender Neutral Restroom Debate?
Lately our news channels and Facebook walls have been covered in debates, arguments, hatred, and confusion surrounding where we use the restroom. And frankly, I find the conversation sad.
It’s estimated that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally; it’s reported that in 2015 in the U.S., 15.3 million children lived in food-insecure households, facing hunger each day; and in 2014, 5,500 kids under 15, teenagers and young adults committed suicide—about 1 youth/teen every 1 hour and 35 minutes.
And yet we’re talking about where we’re going to the restroom.
Hear me: I’m not discrediting or dismissing the conversation on safety of children and taking best next steps. I value our children’s safety and would never want people in harms way. What troubles my heart is the fear and hatred running rampant from our mouths and through our fingertips onto keyboards, spewing allegations and adding fuel to the flame rather than constructing a well thought out and planned best course of action.
Here’s what I know to be true: if a bad guy or gal wants to do something bad, he or she doesn’t need permission on a restroom sign to do it. Bad is gonna do as bad wants to do. We must be aware anywhere we are.
I also know this to be true: we all struggle with who we are. Perhaps for some of us, we struggle with living up to expectations placed on us by others; for others of us it’s figuring out our career and what we want to do with our lives; what kind of parent we want to be; how we want to be seen on social media…the list goes on. In this particular conversation, individuals are struggling with whether they’re male or female…struggling with discovering who they are. We all struggle, and we may not understand someone else’s identity struggle, but we are all struggling to discover who we are.
Life is hard. And we certainly aren’t making it easier on each other. Rather than firing angry words of hurt and confusion, what would happen in our world if we were aware of the people around us and were more gentle with the hurts and questions we’re all carrying? What if rather than proclaiming bad things are going to happen, we taught our kids to be aware of their surroundings and if something doesn’t feel right, to immediately go to a safe environment and talk to a trusted adult?
Nowhere in the Bible does it say Jesus came for “perfect” people. In fact, there are no perfect people. Jesus was the only perfect human to walk this earth. We’ve all got hang ups. Luke 19:10 tells us Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Jesus came to spend time with the people we criticize on Facebook, to love them, to have a relationship with them, to help them become who God made them to be.
As a little girl, my Daddy always said a statement that has stuck with me and remains true today: “What would life look like if we took Jesus as He is to people as they are, becoming the permanent solution for the pain of sin?”
Really, what would life look like?
For me, I’m not so much worried about where I go to the restroom as I am about where I’m telling people to spend eternity. I don’t want to look back on my life and see a string of hateful comments telling people to go to hell; I want to live in such a way that I’m pointing people directly to Jesus, partnering with them to discover in Christ we have hope.
Author: Emily B. Cummins
Emily Cummins is a University of Florida & College of Central Florida grad who is passionate about partnering with people to become who they were made to be. Emily is the Online Campus Pastor at Church of Hope in Ocala, Florida. She’s passionate about storytelling, good cups of coffee, and jamming to country music. And most importantly, she’s passionately pursuing becoming the woman God made her to be.