Sometimes I think we get this stumbling block idea backwards. I was raised to believe that we needed to avoid all evil and appearance of evil in order not to be a stumbling block to weaker Christians or to those who are not yet Christian. But I’m not sure that is the best way to look at it.
We were sitting at dinner with people that treat us like family. They are sweet, sweet people and some of the most Christian-in-deed people I know. For some reason, the topic of sexuality came up. It didn’t take long to turn negative. They talked about how kids are raised into homosexuality. They talked about how if people just keep quiet they wouldn’t have to choose to be against them. Then the conversation turned toward the trans community. Despite my constant attempts to change the subject, they plowed on. The gender you’re born with is the gender you act. That was what the father said. He said it so matter-of-factly. And in that moment, I felt the barrier between us rise. I bow my head like part of me was being shamed. No, I am not a trans person. No, I do not pretend to know the isolation they must feel in a situation like this. But I did feel isolation. My isolation was from a Christian community. It was their Christianity that made this view important to them. It was my Christianity that keeps me from this kind of pat answer.
Isn’t that the point of not making ourselves stumbling blocks? To avoid isolating or tripping up a “weaker” soul. What if I was struggling with my sexuality? I certainly would not feel that I could approach them for a kind ear. I definitely wouldn’t want to confide in them. In fact, I would know that they just want me to shut up a part of myself, so they wouldn’t have to deal with it. That’s exactly what the father said right? “I can’t handle your whole self, so keep it to yourself and we’ll be alright.” It’s this kind of mind-set that causes all kind of problems concerning sexuality. Christians can’t seem to handle to hear about sex. They really aren’t as concerned with the action, as long as it’s hidden. Plug your ears and lalala, right? Can’t we just remove those barriers to communication? Can’t we learn that to really listen we must listen to the whole person without recoil? It’s a setting aside of ourselves for the wholeness of the other. That’s the selflessness, I believe is required of Christians, to ensure we aren’t stumbling blocks.