By: Sean Rice
Lady Gaga's message in Born This Way is 'you were born like this - so there is nothing wrong; celebrate it!' But what if things aren't that sweet and simple? Right up front, this isn't a post about lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender lifestyles (which is mainly what Gaga is singing about in her song); we're talking about the entire human condition. When it comes to sin, wickedness, and depravity, we were born this way. This is who we are. (1) But that's a problem; despite what Gaga says, that's nothing to celebrate. (2) The solution isn't to feel better about our sin and say 'I'm on the right track'; it's to be born again - Christian parlance for putting your faith in Jesus and letting God change you, letting Him fix what is broken in you.
THE CHILDREN OF CHERNOBYL: BORN BROKEN
It was the second-last day of an event called Youth Quake when the prayer request came out. Someone had given birth to a child -a beautiful baby girl- but she was born a dangerous heart defect: some kind of hole in the heart which would require multiple surgeries. What were we asked to pray for? For the little girl's recovery. She was 'born this way', but no one wanted her to stay that way. Lady Gaga is no philosopher (and it shows) but I wonder whether her philosophy would have held up in this little girl's case: was her heart defect not a problem, because this is just how the little girl was born? Of course not. So if being born with a heart defect doesn't make the heart defect awesome, why should the deep stuff inside of us that makes us who we are, our sexual orientation, our natural tendencies, the evil in our hearts, be any different than that heart defect? We should be open to the possibility that we were born wrong.
From author and blogger Donald Miller:
"I have on my desktop a picture of a boy named Sasha. Sasha is one of the children of Chernobyl, a young boy born after the disaster that happened when the core at a nuclear facility in Russia melted and leaked... he is gripping with a tiny arm the side of a crib. His other hand is flailing upward toward his ear, his head and shoulders the only portion of his body not mutated. As terrible as it is to compare Sasha to ourselves, I have to go there. I have to say that you and I were not supposed to be this way. Our souls are born distorted, I'm convinced."
THIS QUEEN'S MOTIVATIONAL DRAG
Back to Lady Gaga, her whole song is self-esteem, 'you are awesome,' motivational speech. Can I just point out that inside, all of us know this sort of talk isn't true? On some level I think we know that we were born broken. That's why we feel like we need to listen to this sort of thing so often: not because we need constant reminding, but because it isn't true and we know it, and as soon as we stop hearing it we become painfully aware of the reality: we are not superstars. There is a lot of ugly in us. And it's a real problem. We legitimately know something is wrong with us. So we want constant reassurance. Besides, the motivational speeches that tell us to have more self esteem aren't really giving us much of a solution: holding your head high and being proud and flaunting your problem doesn't change that you have a problem.
FROM BORN THIS WAY TO BORN AGAIN
So here is a different solution. We were born sinful, corrupt, and broken. But we were created with righteousness, holiness, and value. In the beginning, God said 'Let us create mankind in Our image,' (Genesis 1.26) and just like that, people came into existence for the first time. All of our culture and sexuality and ethics were part of what made us this perfect, visible, walking picture of what our invisible God must be like. We were supposed to stand in His place as kings over the entire world (Genesis 1.28). Those who spend a lot of time thinking about this sort of thing claim that we are supposed to be kind of like a mirror that reflects the sun: God made us to reflect His character to a world that couldn't see Him (God is a spirit and has no physical form; see John 4.24).
So the goal is to get from here, born corrupt and broken, back to the original state of mankind. The only solution is to be born again, to believe in Joshua the Messiah (Jesus) and to come to Him, letting God change you from the inside out, letting Him fix the brokenness and corruptness inside of you. As St. Paul once wrote:
"Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." -Ephesians 4.24
We can't do this alone, but God can change us (John 15.5 HCSB). That's something a little more meaningful than letting Lady Gaga tell us to be proud because we were born this way; it's admitting that something isn't right and that we need help to change. And it's admitting that, if we're willing to ask, there is a God who loves us and has the power to make us new again.