A leaked Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) training video instructs staff to confirm that men can get pregnant and encourages them to refer to a pre-born baby as an “embryo” or “fetus,” to a “fetal heartbeat” as “embryonic or fetal cardiac activity,” and to a “mother” as a “veteran” or “person.”
When I saw the story, I then checked some other taxpayer-funded agencies for similar language. I found this statement on the National Institutes of Health website: “The term chestfeeding or bodyfeeding can be used alongside breastfeeding to be more inclusive” for “nonbinary or trans people.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website similarly includes COVID-19-related information for “pregnant and recently pregnant people” (not “women”). The website later refers to “people who are pregnant,” presumably in deference to pregnant biological women who do not identify as women.
The VA training video correctly states, “Language has a profound impact on what people hear and learn.” Therein lies my point today.
A reporter for the New York Post attempted to gain entrance to some of New York City’s finest restaurants while wearing shorts and a hoodie, only to be turned away at the door by each establishment. The reason for his experiment: he was wearing attire that Sen. John Fetterman (D–Pa.) has made famous (or infamous) in our nation’s capital. The senator’s preferred clothing generated national headlines a few days ago when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that he was relaxing the Senate’s longstanding dress code requirement that its members wear a suit on the floor.
The most important step we can take in helping people come to accept Christ as their savior is to live a life that draws people to him.
Maintaining such a witness doesn’t mean achieving perfection that is, ultimately, impossible on this side of heaven, but there are steps each of us can take that could help and blind spots we must address.
Take social media, for example. We may like, share, and post content with little thought to how it might impact the way other people see us. The truth, however, is that our digital persona is often the primary expression of who we are for most of the people we know. After all, how many magnitudes more friends do you have on Facebook than you interact with in real life?
To better understand the impact of your digital profile, ask a friend or family member to spend a few minutes going through your Facebook page, X (Twitter) feed, or other social media as if you were a stranger to them. Then, ask for an honest assessment of how they would characterize the person whose content they’d just read.
The wisest man who ever lived (apart from Christ) noted, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). The greatest theologian in history added that in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).
The omniscient Lord of the universe exhorts us: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lᴏʀᴅ who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
God wants us to “understand” him intellectually and then to “know” him intimately.
Christians have a unique gift for our culture today: we alone can demonstrate the kindness of Christ by offering our best service to hurting souls while sharing the good news of God’s love. But we cannot love well until we embrace the fact that we are well loved.
The good news of the gospel is still “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). Billy Graham was right: “One of the Bible’s greatest truths is that our lives can be different. No matter what our past has been, Christ stands ready to forgive and cleanse us—and then to make us new.”
This is because “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is not our work but God’s transforming miracle: “All this is from God, who through Christ has reconciled us to himself” (v. 18). Now we are “ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us” (v. 20).
To this end, let’s close by making John White Chadwick’s hymn our prayer: