Galatians 6:7-10 (NIV)
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
I went to this passage in response to a photo of a vandalized billboard that was posted on the North Carolina – South Carolina border. The billboard was funded by an organization called “Planting Peace”. The billboard was their response to the North Carolina’s HB 2 bill that had been recently passed. The bill discriminates against transgender persons by banning them from using public facilities that correspond with their gender identity. The law also prohibits cities and municipalities from passing LGBT protective legislation and equal rights bills protecting and preserving LGBT rights.
The billboard originally reads, “Welcome to North Carolina — Due to our stance on LGBT Rights, please set clocks back 100 Years.”
Anti-LGBT vandals however, had a different message they wanted to get across. “Galatians 6:7 Be Not Deceived God Shall Not Be Mocked”
Well, let’s have a closer look at Galatians, chapter 6 more closely!
Galatians chapter 6, verse 3-5: “If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.”
We each know who we are and we know that we are defined by our actions. If we are sincere and if we are truthful to ourselves, then we can take pride in that and be assured that God knows us as honest people. God knows what is in our hearts and knows us intimately– He created us after all. He knows and is aware of our struggle to be whole people. If we tried to pretend to be what society expects of us… if we tried to live according to appearances rather than by what is in our souls, then yes, we would be living a lie. And God cannot be deceived.
For many transgender persons, trying to conform to the physical gender assigned at birth is living a lie. Trying to conform to a gender that is outward but not inward is an act of deception for the self but also to God. God knows what is in our hearts and knows how we see ourselves and how we feel about ourselves. If our goal is to be sincere with God, we must be true to our souls.
In response to the vandals who quote Galatians 6:7, I would invite them to read on and finish through verse 10. You reap hate when you sow hate. If you plant the seeds of disgust and hatred and bigotry, you will gain nothing from bad seeds. You will only bear bad fruit that stinks of hatred. God will turn away from you. If you are truly guided by the Spirit and not by physical appearances and the body of transphobia that seems so popular, you will see that love should triumph. As much as Jesus loved the poor, the sick, the hungry, the lepers, the tax collectors, the Gentiles, the Samarians, and even his enemies enough to forgive them for what they did not know… if the Spirit guides you, it should guide you to an all encompassing and all inclusive love for all God’s creations. You should want to follow in Christ’s footsteps and be willing to love more than hate and do good for others rather than deny others their dignity, their rights to live well, and their spaces to live as equals.
Seeds of fear grow into fruits of hatred. Seeds of love produce fruits of harmony and peace.