Should We “Be Who We Are”?

In today’s politically correct environment, one of the worst “sins” a person can commit is to tell someone that “who they are” is wrong. The reasoning argues that people should “be who they are,” and if that is who they are, then anyone is wrong to tell them otherwise. One of the most prominent places where we see this argument made is by the pro-homosexual movement. The argument says that a person who pursues homosexuality is just “being who they are” and that they are “born that way.” So if we say that homosexuality is wrong, then we are telling them to be something different than what is “natural” to them, and today’s political correctness says that we are the ones who are wrong.
But homosexuality is not the only place where this argument is made. In many areas of life, someone will argue that a particular thing is just “who they are,” as if that excuses whatever they are trying to justify. Someone will say that they their impatience or lack of respect for others or blunt and offensive way of speaking or dishonesty is just “who they are,” as if that excuses what they do.
But when we consider something that we want to do, the important question is not just “Who are we?” Another important question is “What does God say about this?” God says homosexuality is wrong, so it is wrong, whether a person “feels” like it is normal or not. God says impatience is wrong, so it is wrong, whether a person “feels” like it is normal or not. God says being disrespectful or offensive in speech is wrong, so it is wrong, whether a person “feels” like it is normal or not. The reality is that most sins “feel” normal to us, because we are sinners. We do things wrong. In other words, we are not who we should be (at least in one sense), so we shouldn’t “be who we are.” Consider if you have ever told a lie. Did it feel unnatural? Did it feel as if you were going against your nature to tell a lie (if you have accepted Christ as Savior, consider particularly the time before you accepted Christ)? Christ said that the man who looks after a woman to lust has committed adultery in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28). But for the person who has lusted after someone else, did it feel unnatural? Was it going against “who you are” to lust after someone? The argument that we should just “be who we are” (and let others do the same) starts with the wrong premise, because it presumes that we are already who we should be. But that is not what the Bible tells us. The Bible tells us that our hearts are deceitful and wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). The Bible tells us that we are sinners; we have a sin nature (Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:10-11, 23). So by nature, “who we are” is not who we should be. So arguing that a particular sin is simply “who we are” or that “we are just made that way” is a terribly poor way to try to justify doing wrong.
Instead of arguing that we should be “who we are,” we need to recognize that we need to be changed. We are not who we should be, but we have a hope of being changed into what we should be. But where does that change start? Does it start by trying to clean up our act and stop doing things? For the person who sees that homosexuality is wrong, does he stand right and innocent before God if he simply tries to stop pursuing it? For the person who sees that disrespect or lying or lust or any other sin is wrong, does he stand right and innocent before God by simply trying to stop pursuing his particular sins? No, he does not stand right and innocent before God for simply trying to stop sinning any more than a murderer stands right and innocent before a judge if he commits to not murdering anyone else. We have already sinned, and that sin has consequences. That sin needs to be paid for, and we cannot pay for it simply by trying to do better in the future. God says that the sin must be punished, and the punishment of sin is death, both physical and spiritual (Romans 6:23).
But God also provided a way that the sin could be punished, but we would not be punished for it. That is ultimately why Christ came. Christ taught many good things while He lived on earth, but He didn’t come simply to be a teacher. Christ sets a good example for us so we can know how to live as His followers. But Christ didn’t come simply to be an example. Ultimately Christ came to pay for our sin and provide salvation for us. That is why 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” That is why 1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” That’s why Christ died on the cross. He died to pay for our sin so that we wouldn’t have to. Now in order to stand right before God, we need to trust in Christ and ask Him to save us. We need to acknowledge that we cannot do anything to save ourselves, but that we need Christ to pay for our sin and give us His righteousness. When we believe that and ask Christ to save us, when we trust Christ to save us instead of trusting ourselves or anyone else, we are eternally saved. No longer do we face the punishment of sin in hell forever, but now we look forward to an eternally secure salvation in heaven with God. That is how we receive salvation and the problem of sin is taken care of. Then, and only then, can we consider a sense of “being who we are” and living according to that.
–Pastor Tim



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