Simple Reminder Series: Of Garden Gnomes and Gender Confusion

Note: This post is a bit of a departure from the sort of devotional fare I usually serve up on this site. It’s part of a new series called Simple Reminders, in which my goal is to remind us all that the Bible speaks very clearly into the cultural debates of our day.

This world is a strange place, and if we aren’t aligned with the One who is always true north, we can quickly find ourselves upside-down.

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female.’” (Matthew 19:4)

Did you know that the first garden gnomes were real people? In the eighteenth century, an age when melancholy was seen as a sign of prosperity and wisdom, wealthy people in England liked to flaunt their sophistication, and they did so by hiring common people to live out the better part of a decade as their personal lawn ornaments. These men, usually middle-aged, would agree to live in a small shack or cave on the estate and simply be. They were not allowed to bathe, cut their fingernails, or trim their hair or beard, nor were they permitted to speak with guests or passersby. They had to remain stern and forlorn at all times.

I suppose if you had no other options and enjoyed solitude, a gig as a garden hermit might not have been so bad. But most people know they were created for more than life as a rich person’s extravagant decoration. When the supposedly cultured ideas of the powerful and elite seep into a society, they can do tremendous damage, distorting the very idea of what it means to be a human being.

Far too many people today are being sold on the idea that they can choose their own gender or make one up. They are being duped into trading God’s design for one of their own making. Children are even taking hormone treatments and undergoing irreversible surgery to mutilate the gift of gender God has given them. It’s diabolical—quite literally Satanic, as it seeks to take God’s created order and turn it on its head—and it’s destroying priceless human lives in the process. Precious people are being used as ornaments in a garden of twisted ideology by those who would like to remake society, those who would have us all forget that we were lovingly made by a good God.

“I’m just being who I really am,” they’ll say. Or worse, they’ll invoke the name of the Lord in their gender-bending apologetic: “This is just how God made me.” I have no doubt that many of these people are sincere. They may honestly believe their spirit is trapped inside the wrong body. But that doesn’t mean it’s true.

From the very beginning, the father of lies has been trying to get humanity to believe things that simply aren’t true. In Eden, the serpent convinced Eve that God was holding out on her and that His good commandment not to eat from the forbidden tree was really just a means of keeping her weak and powerless. Adam and Eve sinned when they failed to trust what God had said; they believed Satan’s novel philosophy about the nature of reality, and they lost everything.

We live in a broken world, overtaken by shadow and filled with seductive mirages, where every puddle and pool reveals a distorted image. It can be difficult to know what’s real and what isn’t. That is why we must learn to question our senses and do what Adam and Eve failed to do: trust what God has already told us. To quote Jesus, “Haven’t you heard… that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’” (Matthew 19:4; see also Genesis 1:27)?

It’s striking to me that both the Old and New Testaments affirm this essential element of our being. We were made not as myriad self-identifying gender-fluid creatures but as male and female. It seems so obvious, perhaps not even worth mentioning, but God saw fit to declare, in no uncertain terms, that He created two—and only two—genders. There are no others, there is no in-between, and there can be no switching.

Lately, my five-year-old has been telling everyone he is a medieval knight, but his announcements do not alter reality in the slightest. Don’t fall for the lie that you must accept any designation a person may declare for themselves. Don’t believe that using someone’s preferred pronouns is a kindness. There is no greater love you can show to your neighbor than to affirm what God has already spoken over them. It may not feel like love to them in the moment, but like gender, love is something God gets to define.

There is no amount of pain that can justify desecrating God’s good design. Just as we would restrain a person who believed they were a bird and could therefore fly out a tenth-story window, it is cruel to play along with someone’s gender confusion. We all walk through this life with wounds of one sort of another, and it is truth that will set us free. That goes for you and for me and for every person who believes the remedy for their pain can be found in a new gender identity.

1 thought on “Simple Reminder Series: Of Garden Gnomes and Gender Confusion

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with what you’ve said because it is based on Scripture—God’s Holy written Word. Praise the Lord that His truth is always available!

    Liked by 1 person

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