You’ve probably heard about the controversy over Target and their recent change in bathroom and changing room policies. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here is a link where you can find out why people are boycotting Target. Before you read what I have to say, I want you to promise to keep an open mind. In the end, I may not come to the conclusion that you think I will.
My first reaction
The first thing that came to my mind when I heard about this whole mess was something that TD Jakes said on Focus Today. In his interview, which I totally recommend you watch, TD Jakes said that we need to leave room for the world to be the world. What he meant was that we as the church shouldn’t expect the world to live by Christ’s standards.
If everyone lived like Christians, then there would be no way to tell who is and who isn’t a Christian. We are called to be a light to the world. A little light and a big light are both useless on a sunny day. If the whole world is lit, that light isn’t doing anybody any good. But on a dark night, even the smallest of lights makes a big difference. The darker the world gets in sin, the brighter the pure light of the Gospel becomes. By telling Target they can’t let whoever use whatever bathroom and changing room they want, we are trying to make the world stay lit by itself, instead of letting it fall into the dark of night where the Gospel will shine the brightest.
My second thought was Flufflerville. Flufflerville is the fictional town that Todd Friel used as an allegory for the #MerryChristmasStarbucks debacle.
In the illustration, Todd Described a small town called Flufflerville where the Christian minority was outraged by an atheist shopkeeper who used Christmas imagery to try and sell to the Christians he had previously persecuted. The illustration made it quite plain that Christians shouldn’t be demanding secular institutions use Christian icons to sell their products.
What does this have to do with Target? In the same way that it’s counter productive to expect an openly anti-Christian values company to use Christian imagery, it’s counter productive to expect another openly anti-Christian values company to follow Christian morals.
Our job as Christians isn’t to make the world look more like Christ, it’s to lead the lost into a life saving relationship with Christ. Throwing a fit over small things like Christmas trees printed on a cup or a store letting anyone use their restrooms makes Christianity less appealing, not more.
But on the other hand…
I wholeheartedly believe that we (especially conservatives) have blurred the lines between religion and politics. One’s politics should be influenced by their religion, but being a Christian does not inherently make you one party or another. That being said, the Target controversy may seem like a political issue that conservatives and Republicans should get behind, but it’s not, it’s a moral issue.
I don’t care if you are gay. I don’t care if you are a man who thinks he’s a woman. I don’t care if you are into beastiality or pedophilia (unless it affects me personally). I don’t care, but God does. God’s law clearly states these practices and more are an abomination and whoever practices them should die. If you did any one of these things just once in Old Testament Israel, you would be put to death. Under the mercy of Christ’s blood, these people are able to avoid death through repentance, but these practices are still an abomination.
Target allowing anyone to use any restroom or changing room just furthers the idea that transgenderism is acceptable. If we, as moral beings, allow our culture to give a thumbs up to amoral behavior, we are saying it’s okay and are setting more people up for failure. And we are setting ourselves up for more attacks against our Christian morals.
Damned if we do, damned if we don’t?
Is my conclusion that no matter what our stance, we are wrong? By no means.
I believe this is somewhat of a gray area for Christians. The more conservative (politically and culturally) thing to do is to boycott Target and let them know that we don’t tolerate this sort of behavior. On the other hand, by letting Target become more dark in it’s worldly ways, we are offered the opportunity to shine brighter as a church. But each option comes with it’s own responsibilities.
If you boycott, then it is your responsibility to make sure as many people as possible know that you are boycotting Target because they are promoting damnable behavior and that you are trying to save people from mistakenly falling into it. You must also be willing to help people who already have fallen into such behavior. If you choose not to boycott, then you need to shine your light as a Christian all the brighter. You cannot allow the opportunity to pass by. If you do, you are just waving goodby to those who are drowning while you ride safely in the boat. Do not hold onto extra life vests when there are people within your reach that need them.
So, I guess the choice is yours. Do you take the more difficult route, that if used to it’s full potential will bring more lost into the Kingdom and help to hasten Christ’s second coming? Or do you take the easier (but in no way less acceptable and correct) route that helps prevent more people from falling into a damnable sin? I think you should follow your own convictions.
Whatever route you personally decide to take, I do ask that you don’t look down on your brothers and sisters who make the opposite decision. But it’s incredibly important that neither decision is made in haste without an understanding of what responsibilities that decision comes with. In your discussion with people over this matter, make sure you describe the implications of each choice so that no one is making it uninformed.