Rev. Franklin Graham has shared his thoughts regarding Bruce Jenner's decision to appear on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine for the first time as a transgender woman named "Caitlyn," urging the former Olympian to seek the Lord and emphasizing that only God can truly fix the human heart.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Graham, who is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, wrote, "In Vanity Fair's cover story about Bruce Jenner's gender change, the author talks as if Bruce and his newly chosen identity of "Caitlyn" are two separate people. Bruce's son Burt said, 'I have high hopes that Caitlyn is a better person than Bruce.' The article also says Jenner openly acknowledges mistakes made with his children as Bruce, 'and expresses genuine regret.' I have news for them-changing the outside doesn't change the inside. No man-made modification can fix what's wrong with the heart. Only God can fix the human heart."
Jenner's widely-publicized appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair came on the heels of a two-hour television interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer on April 24, in which he came out as transgender and detailed his lifelong struggles with gender identity.
"For all intents and purposes, I'm a woman," Jenner told Sawyer. "People look at me differently. They see you as this macho male, but my heart and my soul and everything that I do in life - it is part of me. That female side is part of me. That's who I am."
The 65-year-old former athlete's decision to transition into "Caitlyn" has been met with praise from many in the secular media, who have applauded Jenner's "bravery" and "strength." It was also announced on Tuesday that Jenner will be awarded with the prestigious Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPYS, controversially beating out college basketball player Lauren Hill, 19, who battled a brain tumor her freshman year at Mount St. Joseph University before she died.
According to ESPYs executive producer Maura Mandt, the award is being given to Jenner for "(showing) the courage to embrace a truth that had been hidden for years, and to embark on a journey that may not only give comfort to those facing similar circumstances, but can also help to educate people on the challenges that the transgender community faces."
Jenner, prior to his transition, was part of the reality TV show "Keeping Up With The Kardashians," featuring the lives of the Kardashian-Jenner siblings and their mother, and his ex-wife, Kris Jenner. In July, Jenner's own docu-series will broadcast on the E! Network and will "chronicle her new life as a woman."
In concluding his thoughts on the transition of Bruce Jenner, Graham encouraged the athlete to seek the truth of the Gospel and find comfort in the lasting peace that can only be found in the power of Jesus Christ--not in changing the outward appearance.
"If we ask for His forgiveness and accept by faith His Son, Jesus Christ, He will wipe the slate clean," Graham writes. "The Bible says, 'Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new' (2 Corinthians 5:17)."