Recently it was national news when former Olympic champion Bruce Jenner announced he was a transgender man. Jenner’s lifetime emotional struggle came as a result of being a woman trapped in a man’s body. At 65 he would now be known as Caitlyn. He was applauded by most in the media as a hero for doing this. Many others in society would see this as an unhealthy concept. How should the church and Christians respond to this?
A Christian response
American culture and morals have been changing over the last 50-60 years. This change has stirred conflict and passions on both sides. The Church is to be the “Body of Christ” on the earth and respond to world events as Jesus would. Because the world is watching, Satan loves to position the Church in a no-win situation as he often tried with Jesus. One day they brought to Jesus a woman taken in the act of adultery. The law said death by stoning was the penalty for both people. They asked Jesus what should be done to her? If he said, “Stone her as the law commanded,” He would be seen as an unloving and unforgiving Messiah. If He said, “Set her free for I forgive her,” He would be declared a law-breaker. He did neither but wrote something in the sand and said, “He that is without sin cast the first stone.” One by one the men dropped their stones and left. Like those men, none of us have the right to be throwing stones since we have our own sins. Regardless of whether our sins are of a sexual nature or any violation of God’s holy law we all deserve the same penalty death. Jesus was teaching here that he came to deal with our sins in a new way grace. He was sinless and would pay for our sin debt by His death on the cross and resurrection three days later. Grace is the good news of God’s free gift of forgiveness for the debt is paid. For those who receive this gift, the message is the same as to the forgiven woman, “Now go and sin no more.”
A response of compassion
The inner struggles, emotional pain and confusion of others like Jenner is real. They truly feel what they feel. To deny a person’s thoughts or feeling because you disagree with them is a lack of empathy. To try to convince them otherwise will just lock the two of you in a power struggle with no winner. To help someone you accept them where they are just as God does. Why are people confused about something as basic as their gender identity when it would seem to defy common sense? There is not a simple answer to this. People are complex and many things shape their personality. Being transgender is not the same as being gay or a cross dresser.
There can be several factors at work such as: personality type, family of origin issues especially in the area of parental attachment, ability to bond with same sex parent, sexual abuse, other forms of trauma, environment, cultural influences, and maturity level to name a few. The point is even in areas that Christians feel God is clear as to what is right or wrong we are to avoid being judgmental and mean spirited. We are to speak the truth in love as we stand for righteousness.
The bigger issue Does God make mistakes?
What is your theology of God? The Bible reveals God as omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, holy and love just to name a few of His attributes. He is also the Creator of everything. We are designed by God for a specific purpose in His kingdom before the beginning of time (Psalm 139:1316; Jeremiah 1:45; Ephesians 1:45; 2:810). God made the two sexes and gave them a mission that only male and female can do populate the world (Genesis 1:2728). The traits of God listed earlier are basic to a being who is worthy to be worshiped as God. To be a woman in a man’s body or vice versa is to say that God made a mistake. This is far different than the consequences of evil and death that go with man’s disobedience to God through his free will. This is saying God has made a mistake. If God can do that, He is not perfect and therefore not God. The fool is then right, “There is no God (Psalm 14:1).” This confusion is a part of Satan’s plan to deny the reality of God.
The consequences of wrong theology
When we reject the truth about who God is by rejecting the clear evidence of creation, the result is foolishness (today we call it political correctness and the absence of common sense), darkness, bondage and chaos. The absurd just keeps getting more absurd such as the Spokane, Washington white woman who resigned from leading the area NAACP claiming she was black inside. The bigger issue here is one of rejecting God’s wisdom as foolishness and accepting the lies as truth (Romans 1:2432). Indi- viduals and nations come out the loser when doing so. Our hope in this discouragement the gospel of Christ.
Dr. John Hawkins, Sr. runs Gateway Counseling Center in Boynton Beach along with his son, John Jr. Dr. Hawkins can be reached by visiting gatewaycounseling.com.