Jesus did not act like a policeman. He did not point out every sin in His followers. He loved people and died for us. All of His actions, thoughts, and words displayed righteousness and love. On the other hand, He also did not support sin. He did not go to houses of prostitution to judge prostitutes. The repentant sinners always came to Him. How might we follow His example?
Jesus taught, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," Matthew 22:39. None of us have perfect love or perfect judgment. There are some issues and circumstances which we, personally, cannot tolerate. We can not seem to relate to some individuals without judgment or anger or confusion. Then we need to recognize our lack of wisdom and development. It would not be wise nor loving to invite individuals to family gatherings if the meal is going to be full of judgmentalism (whether or not it is verbally expressed).
The Apostle Paul addressed a similar issue in Romans 12:18, "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." Essentially, he is saying we are to try as hard as possible to live in peace. But sometimes, from our perspective, it is not possible. This same principle may be applied here. If we cannot behave respectfully and lovingly, then we need to ask God for some direction.
James 1:5 (NIV), "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." Here are a few suggestions which might guide your decision:
- Before any invitations are extended, ask the other guests how they would feel. Start a family dialogue.
- If people express hesitation and disagreement, then it may be wise to give the family time to learn how to relate before forcing a holiday meal on everyone.
- Talk to the transgender family member. Suggest that she could come for a half hour and see how it goes. If the person feels uncomfortable, then leave.
- If you feel strongly about inclusion when others feel differently, you may want to have a private holiday meal with her at another time or day. Explain the situation. That individual will probably feel relieved to talk about it with you.
Wisdom is not black and white. "The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace," James 3:17, 18. If you or others feel purity means not to tolerate transgender people, then it's best not to violate your conscience. When I struggle with an issue, I say in my heart, "at this time, this is my position." I try to keep an open heart and mind.