michchen asked a question:
What is your opinion on transsexual people? Besides the fact that God loves them, what does the bible have to say about it? I’ve been reading a lot of articles and I really don’t know what to think. I really respect your answers and wanted to know your take on it. Thanks 🙂
Hey there dear friend, I believe you’re referring to this post.
I’m not sure there’s a whole lot more to say than “God loves them” and that we’re called to love them, too. I’m afraid the Bible doesn’t go into specifics about this, and there’s probably a good reason for that. Here’s why.
Some of us will be individually called to reach out to a certain group of people, whether gay or transgender or Republicans or the poor. It will be helpful to understand that particular culture and language if you’re called to do so. But the moment we begin to see a certain group as a “charity case” or a “working project,” then we lose sight of the fact that they’re just people too, like you and me. We’re not the savior and they’re not some secondary character to fulfill our hero-narrative. I’m not saying that this is your motive, but we too easily slip into main character syndrome and treat others like the props in our catharsis.
When I first began looking into gay rights and the abortion debate, that was my problem: I was treating it as an issue instead of seeing the people inside the issues. I had to address the entire person as a whole, not by their “problem.” Sure, I wanted to know what was offensive and what was acceptable; I wanted to know how God’s grace actively applied to each distinct context. But by seeing their problem as a problem, I was inadvertently calling attention to their “disadvantage” as a pseudo-savior instead of entering their world as equals.
In Asia, there’s currently a growing boom of cross-dressing and transgender individuals. When I last visited (in the Philippines last year), I really just tried my best to see this person as a holistic life, who had to go home and pay bills and resolve conflicts and make it through rush hour and endure insults and visit the doctor and find God. My priority as a Christian is to see the heart, because this is where love is most crucial — it is not to change someone’s behavior or opinions or appearance. I can bring grace, truth, and conversation, and God will show up, like He always does.
Let’s consider the opposite. If I were to tell you, “Here are the five steps to reach out to this kind of group,” that would be much too mechanical and obvious. It’s suffocating an entire group under a label again, which dehumanizes people back into issues. I can’t offer a magical formula and no one would fit it anyway.
We also have so much more to worry about than our sexuality or finances or race. Each component by itself is highly important, but each is also an interlocking piece of the human story that collectively needs our attention.
Really, the best thing I can tell you is to simply love the other as you would love anyone else: like Jesus did, with total engagement and a reckless counter-cultural joy. If that means embracing your local community or just one person, then God be with you and pray hard.
15 thoughts on “So About Transgender People: Also Known As “People””
I just “raised the roof.” I’m not sure if that is a thing people do anymore, but for some reason it was my automatic reaction to your words, so many of which I can relate so well too. When talking about abortion or homelessness or gentrification or how Black Lives Matter or identifying as transgender, we are talking about people. I believe I’ve said some of these exact words – they go to work, they love their families, they pay bills, they sit in traffic – we are all people in need of a God Who Saves. Yes.
I’ll be raising the roof with you 🙂
I think G.K. Chesterton said it best:
“I wish we could sometimes love the characters in real life as we love the characters in romances. There are a great many human souls whom we should accept more kindly, and even appreciate more clearly, if we simply thought of them as people in a story.”
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Twenty-five years ago…
ME: Ok, I’ll love Gil “as if he…”
GOD: NO! Just love him.
Has stood me in good stead ever since.
Reminds me of a quote:
“I don’t normally speak for God but God is saying to you right now, ‘I love you.” and then, at the end of that sentence, there is a period.”
— Steve Rea
YES!!! I love the outsider, the one who would never darken a door, never be caught dead in a pew, or the one who bailed on God. Why? Because it was me, it is me. Just because Jesus burst onto the scene of my prodigal life doesnt make me any different than someone who many would call “unsaved” or an “unbeliever.” They are my people and living within the confines of this culture, especially the Christian culture, some would believe it’s “us” against “them.” Alas, it is not. We are all people, each on various degrees of searching and finding and many (or most if we’re honest) carry some fairly hefty God baggage. I don’t want to convert anyone, I just wanna love them wherever they are: numb, agnostic, atheist, wiccan, etc.. And God continues to bring them across the path of my life. A 5-point list of principles would negate my experience and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Really loved this, J.S., thanks!
Yes! I remember my friend (a pastor) saying that his ideal church service would be a front row of heroin addicts, prostitutes, and smelly homeless people. I thought he was being a typical big-talking pastor, but he was really serious: he’s the kind of guy who would walk into the worst parts of a neighborhood and knock on doors to pray for people. Jesus wanted the unwanted, like me.
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Each of us is on our own journey and, while very trite it is still very true, we meet our Maker by ourselves. Not one of us here can answer for another. In this sense we should be kind to everyone who is kind to us and TRY to be to those who are not…let God sort it out. Good article! ❤
Thanks Shannon! Reminds me of Romans 14.
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The Bible actually has quite a bit to say about God’s love for outsiders–for the sexually different.
God created mankind male and female and blessed them. (Gn 1:27,28; Gn 5:2) But He also made a wide range of biological sex variations that go well beyond that simple binary.
“For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth…” (Mt 19:12—ESV)
Far from despising those who are sexually different, God provides a special place for some of these variations within male and female. For instance, a child born with female-typical genitals, XY chromosomes, and internal testes would have been considered a barren woman.
Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord. (Is 54:1—ESV)
For others, God provides a place within his kingdom as neither male nor female. For instance, someone born with ambiguous genitals might well have been considered a eunuch.
Deuteronomy 23:1 makes it clear that eunuchs are male in the eyes of God’s law. Yet God gives them wonderful promises.
For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” (Is 56:4,5—ESV)
The Gospel is freely offered to such people. (Acts 8:26-40) When Phillip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch, he didn’t require anything beyond faith in Christ. And, even though Phillip performed miracles earlier in the chapter, he didn’t heal the eunuch. Perhaps being sexually different wasn’t something that needed to be fixed.
Male, female, and other—Scripture maps the diversity of biology into three sex classifications.
Let’s deal more specifically with trans kids.
“…there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 19:12—ESV)
Some people change their legal sex–in the eyes of God’s law–for the sake of the kingdom. With God’s approval. The Bible doesn’t condemn people for being transgender. What’s important is their relationship with Christ.
Deuteronomy 23:1 makes it clear that eunuchs are NOT male in the eyes of God’s law.
Thank you for these verses! I’m not entirely sure the original writers of these passages meant it specifically this way and it could be a stretch, but I’m also totally cool with God speaking to every situation since He’s timeless. Early Christians were certainly extra gracious to eunuchs, who were considered banned from the Temple. You brought up some great thoughts here.
Reblogged this on The Peace Journal of SBosque and commented:
This is an interesting analysis of how to deal with current events: My priority as a Christian is to see the heart, because this is where love is most crucial — it is not to change someone’s behavior or opinions or appearance. I can bring grace, truth, and conversation, and God will show up, like He always does.”
Thank you for sharing it! 🙂
I hope you don’t mind but I shared this on my blog. I’ve been trying to make this point for a while now and you have said it better. Thanks.