Zyler and Kadyn Sharpe are three-year-old fraternal twins living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Which is a boy, and which is a girl? According to their parents, that's a question only the children can decide.
Nate and Julia Sharpe have kept their children's biological sex a secret from their birth. They have not taught them to associate their body parts with being a boy or a girl. They are going to allow their children to determine their gender. Such children are known as "theybies."
Other parents are making the opposite decision.
Model Chrissy Teigen and her husband, singer John Legend, made headlines when they announced that they had selected the sex of their unborn child. They used in vitro fertilization to become pregnant. This process creates embryos in the laboratory which are then implanted in the mother's womb. Teigen and Legend asked doctors to select a female embryo for her to carry to term.
In related news, "sex-selective abortion" is now common around the world. When a couple learns that their unborn child is not the gender they wanted, they have the baby aborted. According to Newsweek, such abortions "are rife in the U.S."
"You will be like God"
Letting a child choose his or her gender, choosing a child based on gender, and aborting a child based on gender are all symptoms of an underlying condition. At their heart, they succumb to the temptation, "You will be like God" (Genesis 3:5).
Scripture clearly teaches that God created us in his image as "male and female" (Genesis 1:27) and values males and females equally (Galatians 3:28). He has a purpose for our lives before he makes us (Jeremiah 1:5).
For several decades, however, our culture has embraced the lie that truth is what we believe it to be. Such relativism explains the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the legalization of abortion in 1973. It gave birth to same-sex marriage in 2015. It makes our bodies and lives our own to do with as we wish.
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To paraphrase Dr. Phil, how's that working for us?
A highway with no lanes
In her daily devotional, Anne Graham Lotz asks, "Can you imagine the chaos that would result if a multilane highway had no painted markings to give direction to the traffic? Accidents and confusion would be the order of the day. No one complains about or resents the markings because drivers know the painted boundaries exist for their own benefit and safety.
"Today we are surrounded by a generation of people who have grown up living according to their own moral codes, defying the boundaries set by God. As a result, it is a generation with no peace or sense of security. Rather than inhibiting us, moral guidelines free us to live in peace and security. The statistics on crime, divorce, abortion, and suicide give eloquent witness to the danger of living outside God's boundaries."
Now let's make today's discussion personal.
"Someone else emerges: the real you"
Joshua Rogers is an attorney and writer. His latest article in Fox News is titled, "The most awful, humiliating, embarrassing thing that's happened in my marriage (so far!)."
In their first year of marriage, he and his wife got into a disagreement while visiting a family member's home. They went into the guest room to "hash it out privately." Joshua thought he'd turned off the baby monitor, but he'd actually turned it to voice activation. Those in the living room heard every word of their argument.
Rogers applies his embarrassment to us: "On the outside, you're this decent person who's easy to get along with. You'd never tell off a coworker or post an insult on someone's Facebook page. You're likeable, respectful and kind. You're even admirable. But when the doors close at home, someone else emerges: the real you."
He encourages us to apologize to those we hurt, forgive them when they hurt us, pray for God's help, and listen to what others believe and need.
"Character determines revelation"
It's easy for me to reject the cultural claim that gender is "fluid" and that it's acceptable to choose or abort babies based on their biological sex. I firmly believe that God's "lines on the freeway" are there for our benefit and ignored at our peril.
But if my private life doesn't match my public life, I'm actually agreeing with my relativistic culture that I am my own God. I'm choosing to be whatever I want to be, so long as others aren't looking. My apparent godliness may reflect my desire to impress others more than the actual state of my heart.
However, God knows the truth about us: "Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). His Holy Spirit wants to speak to our culture through us, but, as Oswald Chambers notes, "Character determines revelation." Our private sins limit our public ministry.
When private and public align
Here's the good news: If we choose to make our personal character our highest priority and ask the Father to make us more like his Son, he will (Romans 8:29). If we measure ourselves by the "fruit of the Spirit" and ask the Spirit to manifest them more fully in our lives, he will (Galatians 5:22-23).
As our private and public lives align, we leave behind the internal dissonance that comes from being two people. We experience "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding" (Philippians 4:7). And others are drawn to the Christ they see in us.
Remember: the baby monitor is always on.