Grace and Peace to you.
David said to Goliath, “You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”
—1 Samuel 17.45
I see a lot in the “news” these days about what gender we get to call a transgender person and whether it’s right for a white woman to pass as black. As if we get to decide who people are. We who don’t even know someone give ourselves permission to write their story at a glance: you have this kind of body or that, so here’s who you are. It may seem slight and benign, but those judgments are the spears and javelins of violence. We judge you without knowing you, without hearing your story. We violate who you truly are, so that we can categorize you and oppose you, or use you, or convict you, or shoot you…
David pays no attention to Goliath’s outer nature, or Goliath’s judgment of David’s outer nature. He trusts in who he is and whose he is. Goliath doesn’t get to decide that. David knows his own story. And that’s who he is, not some snap judgment from a stranger. Of course David makes the same kind of judgment about Goliath, and that leads to violence….
Nobody gets to decide who you are—only God. It’s up to you, not society, to discern who that is. Sure, sometimes we’re wrong, but it’s our work, no one else’s. Actually we’re almost always wrong. We think we’re something other than God’s Beloved, something made up. Sometimes others see us more clearly that we do; sometimes they don’t. The work of our lives is to get clear about who we truly are and whose we are. The clearer we get the more fully we become ourselves. And the less we judge other people. We don’t fling the spears and javelins or sling the stones of judgment at them. We listen to their stories.
Never mind all those folks blogging and tweeting about what we get to call people. Stop calling them anything but their names. And never mind the judgments of others about who you are. You are Thou, Beloved of God. Get to know your true self, and live in that truth with courage. It will give you power to overcome giant obstacles.