As we conclude 2019, we are learning about the latest social trends. Pop culture fads. The person of the year. The most googled word. And each dictionary announces their word of the year.
Merriam-Webster billed as “America’s most trusted dictionary,” recently announced their word of the year is “they.”
They? How could an elementary, third-person plural pronoun be the word of the year?
The answer is simple. Sorta. “They” has changed its meaning. In a statement, the organization explained that “they” is now used by those who identify as gender non-binary. “English famously lacks a gender-neutral singular pronoun,” they explained.
Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor-at-large, told the Associated Press that searches for the term skyrocketed after a number of celebrity figures announced their gender-neutrality, including model Oslo Grace and Amandla Stenberg. “It’s a word we all know and love,” Sokolowski said. “So many people were talking about this word.”
Accordingly to another source, the American Psychological Association approved “they” as a singular third-person pronoun and updated its latest style guide for scholarly writing accordingly.
And so, the confusion and controversy in our culture over gender-identity continues, as evidenced by the simple word of the year, “they.”
Don’t you miss the simple days, when boys were boys and girls were girls? When we knew the difference between single and plural pronouns? When “he” meant a male. “She” meant a female. And “they” referred to a group.
I don’t claim to understand the confusion over gender identity. I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist. I’m a preacher. So, I will offer a simple Bible explanation.
Gender crisis and confusion exists because people have strayed away from God. They have lost their spiritual identity. And they have denied the Creator and His purpose for their lives.
Our society is on the fast track to becoming like the pagan culture Paul described in Romans chapter one. “…They knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.” (Rom. 1:21-25)
The Bible says that in the beginning God created the first pair “male and female.” He pronounced a blessing upon them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply.” (Gen 1:27-28). Later when Jesus was asked by the Pharisees a question relating to marriage, he responded this way.
“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matt 19:4-6)
The Bible does not give us free rein to choose our sexual preferences and gender identity.
Our culture has taken something simple, and obvious and made it so complex and complicated that it goes beyond the absurd. Yet, “enlightened” educators, politicians, journalists and sadly some church leaders, nod with some kind of knowing empathy that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, feelings, behavior and sexual identity or preference.
Our culture has lost its way. The real crisis today is a crisis of values. G. K. Chesterton was right when he wrote, “The danger when men stop believing in God is not that they’ll believe nothing; but that they will believe in anything.”
The solution is not to seek our gender identity, but to seek God. To desire spiritual communion with Him. And to accept who He created us to be.
Parents, preachers, and Bible teachers must now emphasize to a new generation influenced by the confusion of their culture, that God created us. He made us male and female. He gave us distinct gender roles. And that our body does not belong to us, it belongs to the Lord.
In response to those truly disturbed and confused by their gender and sexuality, let us offer God’s grace. Extend mercy. Show love. And care for those emotionally tortured.
May we, like our Heavenly Father, grieve over the brokenness of our culture and the depravity into which the devil has ensnared them.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman