My wife and I were grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s with our baby daughter when an older woman stopped us and said, “What a cute little boy”. In her defense our daughter was wearing blue, and it’s hard to tell with babies. I responded with a smile and said, “She is a cutie, isn’t she?” She said to us, “Oh it’s a girl!” And then turned to our daughter and said, “you’re a girl now, but you don’t have to be, this state will see that one day.”
My wife and I were both taken aback, I wanted to say, “Well, she really doesn’t have a choice, God formed her into a girl, and so she is.” However, I said nothing, the older lady continued her shopping, and so did we.
We live in a very “progressive” city. I work in a very “progressive” school. So, statements like that are almost commonplace. Our culture is in the midst of a sexual revolution, and countless workplaces, businesses, cities, and states are in full support of pushing that revolution forward.
Though I gave no response then, I’ve had opportunities to do so at different times, and numerous Christians are walking into such comments and conversations that blatantly go against God and His Word. Her comment just made me stop and reflect for awhile. How do we respond to a world that interprets everything in a way that denies the supremacy of Christ and the sufficiency of Scripture? What exactly is the error in a statement like that, and how do we speak both truth and compassion into a divisive subject like gender fluidity, and those like it? Fortunately, we have a God who did not leave us without an answer for these, and all life’s issues.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
We enter conversations with the world knowing that we have God’s divine power with us and in us, and He’s given us all we need to engage this world for Christ.
Nevertheless, I just couldn’t shake that comment made to my daughter, and all the implications, presuppositions, and ideologies that came with it. And the fact that it was being pushed on her, a baby, and is being pushed in schools, colleges, and workplaces across the country. The movement behind the fluidity of gender and sexuality has infected our culture to a degree that some of the most fundamental truths that govern our world are being attacked.
Truths like male and female being the genders God made and that we were created as God intended in His image.
In Genesis 3 we learn that God created male and female.
“God created mankind in His image, male and female created He them.”
Male and Female. That was God’s intent. I love science and nature, because in the physical laws and functions that drive creation God instituted amazing order, and simplicity within immensely vast complexity. I’m a male because God saw to it that a single gene on my Y chromosome set my embryonic development down the male pathway. And I have 2 beautiful daughters, because God saw to it that they were formed without a Y chromosome, and a second X instead. The differences that resulted are beautiful and amazing, and God orchestrated them all! We are distinguished by physiological markers designed by God specific to each gender, and named accordingly–male or female.
Our culture has been working toward expanding those gender options. Facebook, for instance, used to have users select between male and female when selecting gender. Naturally. As our culture shifted, Facebook added a custom option, and now there are approximately 60+ options available for gender on the social media site. It’s a rather interesting list, and with it our culture is trying to take the gender decision away from God, and give it the individual. The reasons for the current transgender revolution are complex, they have many facets, and a long history. And if you want to explore and better understand that history, listen to Rosaria Butterfield’s talk on sexual orientation here. Ultimately, the revolution boils down simply to rebellion–sin.
After God created man in his image, man went against God and forever distorted that image. The fall of man had biological implications. We see immediately in the narrative that childbirth became painful, this is a biological change. Man had to toil to get plants to grow and food to eat, the pain in his muscles from tilling the ground was a biological change. Now, I may be pushing too far, but I would make the claim that every genetic mutation, or malformation, any cellular glitch, or any human desire that is contrary to God’s perfect design is a result of the fall. Transgenderism, gender dysphoria, they are a result of the fall.
Much has been written in academia about the difference between sex and gender to make way for the transgender revolution. Sex has been defined as the biological/physiological traits a person has and gender has been defined as a social construct that tends to determine one’s role in society–thus it is not innate, but due to numerous factors in our environment our genders manifest themselves. From there, they’ll assert, that your biology does not dictate your gender, you do. So when you hear talk of gender fluidity, it’s not a discussion of biology, but of how someone one feels. That’s important to know. Those who claim to have gender dysphoria have real feelings of being another gender. The entire transgender, and we can lump into that the entire moral/sexual revolution happening in the Western world, is based on feelings–feelings of wanting control and perceived freedom. The question becomes, “Should we embrace those feelings?”
Fortunately, God has much to say about feelings:
Proverbs 28:26 says, “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.”
I wouldn’t walk up to an unbeliever and open with that verse, but that summarizes a proper view of human feelings. They are foolish, unless guided by the wisdom of God.
John echoes this thought in I John 3:20, he says, “for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything”
In context, he speaking of our hearts condemning us once we’ve been saved, and that God’s knowledge of us and our salvation in Him is better, but the point is the same. The human mind is untrustworthy to give guidance for life on its own, and for any person to live their life based on how they feel is, according to God, foolish. Simply put, God knows us better than we know ourselves because He made us.
The statement, “You’re a girl now, but you don’t have to be,” is another way of saying, “Your life is your own, and you choose what you want to be.” It’s another way of saying, “God’s not in control, you are.” It’s the same lie Satan told Eve in the garden, and it’s the lie he never ceases to tell today.
The church is having to deal with these questions and statements from their young people and adults alike. Biblical counselors, especially those working with teens and young adults, are facing incredibly tough questions and situations regarding gender, sexuality, and God’s Word. The answer still is what it has always been: eternal hope and joy, and freedom from sin and shame is found in knowing Jesus.
Our culture is painting a narrative that reads, “You do whatever you feel, and let everyone else do what they feel, and we’ll be all good.” That narrative is a lie, and the true narrative is far better.
As Paul wrote,
“I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”
The unbeliever needs to see the “surpassing worth of knowing Jesus,” and realize that knowledge far outweighs the gratification of giving in to one’s feelings. Truly, knowing Jesus is immeasurably more satisfying than anything this world can give.
Now, I want to assert that as a follower of Christ, as a teacher, as a fellow human, I want to support and be compassionate toward gender queer and all people I come across, but my support will be pointing them toward the peace and rest they’ll find for their souls in Christ. Too often I see “Christians” portrayed in the media judging and shaming unbelievers for their sexual stances and sins, and that’s not a proper response.
But what is?
The first step we take in responding to such issues is searching God’s Word for wisdom. As Paul writes in Colossians 4:5-6,
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
There is so much we can pull out of this text that is relevant for responding to the transgenderism, homosexuality, apathy, really any sin in our culture. We must first walk in wisdom. We should, if we plan to shed light into this darkness, know the terms being used, and as best we can understand what each individual experiences. Understanding their experience will help us be compassionate to their plight.
Our compassion should multiplied by the fact that they are “outsiders”. They are outside the fold of God. It grieves my soul when I reflect on the fact that there are fellow humans seeking rest for their souls, but unable to find it. They are living a life separated from God, aimlessly wandering, and it grieves me. Why should we expect people outside of God’s Kingdom to live according to His laws? They aren’t even aware of them! They are lost, and we should be so gracious, and peace-seeking, and compassionate as we by the Holy Spirit’s power attempt to move them toward the knowledge of Christ. In doing so we’ll make good use of our time. We won’t push them further away from a relationship with God, rather they’ll see our love for them and for Christ, and Lord-willing be moved toward repentance.
Finally, Paul tells us, in light of the wisdom we’ve sought, and the fact that they are outsiders, that our conversations with them should “always be gracious, seasoned with salt”. There’s no need to speak down, or speak judgement to any sinner. Recognize that before knowing Christ, we were in the exact same place. And while their struggle may not have been ours, we lovingly tell them all Christ did to set them free from sin.
But like John said in 1 John 3:20, “Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.”
I can speak from experience and say that making these claims to someone whose identity is centered on their sexuality or gender will not result in fast friends. When you enter this space with the truth of Scripture be prepared for people to sharply disagree, or worse, dismiss you and God’s Word altogether and go on as unregenerate sinners.
It would be so easy to simply let these things be, but if we believe God and His Word, that is the least loving thing we can do. Just as Christ patiently and lovingly pursued us, likewise we should patiently and lovingly purse lost souls for Christ.
Engage with divine wisdom.
Engage with radically loving compassion.
Engage with deep humility.
Engage with Christ-powered boldness.