Picture this… You walk onto a stage to share a sermon wearing boots, a hat, and a dress; here’s the catch, you’re a man. Sounds strange, right? We all have the simple and moral understanding that men should not wear dresses, after all, cross-dressing is not morally acceptable in the sight of the Lord.
That, of course, addresses you as the Pastor or Teacher wearing said outfit onto the stage but what if you aren’t the teacher? What would run through the minds of those who sit in the congregation? “What’s going on?” one might think, or “this isn’t right, he shouldn’t be wearing that…” It would certainly be an uncomfortable situation, right? As children of God, we all know that cross-dressing, transgenderism, and the like are immoral and unacceptable before the Lord; especially for a Pastor to stand in front of his congregation and wear something like that!
A million things could run through our minds, a wealth of snap judgments, and certainly confusion… but… as wrong as we know it is, it doesn’t end there. The Pastor takes the dress off to reveal that he is, in fact, wearing normal clothes beneath it and says “how many in this room made a judgment of what they just saw?” The room is quiet, no one knows what to say and a few are even more afraid to speak as they were questioning his future in the pulpit. The Pastor, breaking the silence, then utters these words “If it is wrong for me to wear this dress, how much more wrong is it for the children of God to present themselves as born again but to wear the nature of the world?” And, scene…
This story may not be profound and it may not give an incredible revelation to any that read it, but the gravity of its point is not lessened by either of those things. It is easy to make snap judgments based on appearance, even easier to say how sinful and wrong it is for a man to wear a dress, all the while being caught up in the very same thing within one’s own spirit! After all, how different is the image of a man wearing a dress from a child of God wearing the traits and attributes of the world? Both are cross-dressing, both are one thing proclaiming to be another. Both are a wonderful image of hypocrisy, double-mindedness, and a lack of right standing with God.
I would even dare to say that the most controversial thing up to this point in this article is not that the Pastor wore a dress onto the stage but that the congregation, assuming that all of them aren’t completely righteous and holy of course, made snap judgments of him doing so while doing the very same things themselves spiritually. I made up the story of the Pastor and, as far as I know, there is not a Pastor that has done so; very likely because of the judgment that he might receive.
The fear that the congregation felt to speak up was not because they didn’t know what to say, rather I would say that it is because at the moment that he removed the dress and made his statement they felt conviction within themselves. I am not going to say that to feel any conviction in that scenario would be a bad thing, we should feel a sense of wrongness at our response to that! We spend so much time telling the world what is wrong with it that we often forget to look and see what is wrong with us. The truth is that to say we serve the Lord and live like the world is no different, in concept, than a man wearing a dress and pretending to be a woman.
The most popular scripture that could be likened to this is found in Matthew 7:1-5, which says “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Everyone knows this scripture, and indeed it is easy to use when others are judging us for things we feel we have not done wrong but is it as easy to use when we are looking at others and what we believe they are doing wrong?
How eager are we to notice that even as we judge the Pastor for wearing the dress, maybe even question his position and whether or not he is fit for it, we are for the most part doing the very same thing within ourselves? It is simple to present yourself as righteous before others but the true test of integrity and righteousness comes to face when we are alone. Are we the same when no one is looking?
I love Paul’s response to the Romans, in which he says “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?” It would be easy to say that cross-dressing and transgenderism are both very different from the point that the Pastor was making, albeit wrong. The fact is that modeling Christ one day and modeling the world the next is no different and in fact, spiritually it is likely even worse to a degree; the sinner knows that they are a sinner and they are not trying to hide it, while to model Christ one day and the world the next is nothing short of hypocrisy and double-mindedness. Neither of these is fitting for saints, even as Paul addresses to the Hebrews (10:38-39) reminding them of what the Lord said, “My righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”
I do understand that this topic is potentially a bit hard to swallow because cross-dressing and transgenderism are in fact morally wrong, but the parable is sound. We should certainly be aware of ourselves, not just of who we are in the Lord but also of where we stand with Him! Are we walking in righteousness always before the Lord, or are we merely appearing righteous while wearing a spiritual dress at home? Do our lives, though we may occasionally mess up, reflect the image of Christ in forward motion or are we continually falling back to the previous things?
Does our conduct in private match our conduct in public, and do our words when no one is looking reflect the very same faith that they do when others are around? James says it best, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:14-26) There is plenty of scripture to make evident the fact that it is dangerous to live in that sort of spiritual mindset, in fact, Titus goes even further to say of people who do this that “They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”
This can seem as though it is sort of a cold response or approach to Christians but, in all honesty, we need to be taking these matters seriously! That is not to say that we will never face obstacles and that we will never be tempted because we most certainly will, but we are called to live in a conduct that exceeds that of the world; both privately and in public so that it cannot be said of us that we are detestable, disobedient and unfit for any good work. Certainly to live a lifestyle that represents Christ on Sunday, Wednesday, and in public or only around Christian friends is a lifestyle that is not fitting for saints. We should live lives that reflect Him at all times, whether in the presence of others or not, or around Christians or not. To be one way around Christians and another around sinners is doublemindedness, hypocrisy, and certainly falls into the example of spiritual cross-dressing.
We are not called to live spotless lives because God is a rulemonger, trying to peddle His commandments like the next big thing, rather we are called to live lives that are holy and blameless because He wants better for us than what the world offers. After all, being created in His image, the sacrifice that He made, and the grace that He extends to us are all for more than just another double-minded and hypocritical life. Our Father has a deeper understanding of the benefits of being obedient to Him than our own flesh tends to understand. After all, “”Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” (Matthew 7:9) God, knowing not only what we need but what we desire, and ask for wants to give us better than what the world can offer. He also knows what it takes to have the better and would never ask anything of us that wouldn’t benefit us far more greatly than the sacrifice of giving up fleshly desires to be obedient would hurt us. Really there is no comparison.
Sacrificing ourselves to be obedient will never hurt us, it is only beneficial to obey God but living a double-minded lifestyle will certainly bear consequences; a fact that James openly points out when addressing doubleminded Christians, saying “That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:7)
Beloved, it is not my hope to cast judgment on you! I have no desire to spend any amount of time pointing out flaws or condemning, rather it is my hope that you see what is and what is not fitting for saints; choose what is fitting! We serve a God, we have a Father and a King Who so greatly desires us that not only does He ask us to do what is right so that we will walk in victory, but has also more than enabled us to do so! If we struggle, we struggle— with, or because of our own selves— not because of the Lord! If we are doubleminded it is of our own volition, and if we are hypocritical it is because that is what we choose, again I say it… Choose what is fitting!
I pray that this article blesses you, that you are opened up to understand and that you choose what is right; that your life will reflect the Lord before it ever reflects the world. I love you all, grace and peace to each of you! God bless!