Christianity and Transgenderism

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What is the proper view of Christianity and transgender people? This honest post considers the importance of compassion, with Jesus as our example.

I watched, mesmerized, as the scene unfold before me. I wanted to look away, but I couldn’t.

A group of undercover policemen had set up a sting operation to arrest prostitutes in the act of soliciting.

A plainclothes officer pulled his car to a stop beside the target and spoke through his rolled-down window.

“How much?”

“Fifteen.”

“Fifteen bucks? Hop in.”

I quickly swiped the tears welling up in my eyes, not wanting my husband to see me crying over a reality television program.

But fifteen dollars?

My heart ached for this one whose self-dignity had been valued at what I spend on a month’s supply of toilet paper.

As the undercover policeman transported the unsuspecting prostitute toward the location where the other cops were waiting for the arrest, something didn’t seem quite right about the prostitute, though I couldn’t make it out in the car’s dark interior.

When the car jerked to a halt, one of the waiting police officers threw open the passenger door and yanked the prostitute out.

“Get on the ground! Get on the ground! Get on the ground!”

Rough hands grabbed the prostitute, then flung him harshly to the ground. Yes, him. By the light of a streetlamp overhead, I could see that the prostitute who dressed like a woman was clearly a man.

That’s when my aching heart broke. The floodgates opened and I wept.

I wept for a man who assuaged agonizing pain by trying to become someone he’s not.

I wept for a broken person who placed such a low value on himself. Fifteen dollars.

I wept for the man’s parents who likely never imagined this future for their son.

I wept for the boy he had been. Was he abused? Neglected? Did a loving mom ever gaze at him fondly and caress his chubby cheeks? Did a proud dad ever take him camping? Did his teachers tell them he was a great speller or that he had the best handwriting in the class? Did a coach ever look into his hopeful eyes and urge him to keep trying and not give up?

I wept for this person who had never tasted the supreme joy of divine relationship. Who had never entered the presence of the One who counted him worth dying for.

And I wept for his belief in Satan’s lies. The lie that he’s a misfit, a mistake. The lie that he’s virtually worthless. The lie that his only hope is himself and the best he can do.

I wept that maybe no one has ever even told him the truth. Has he heard the name of Jesus? Even once listened to the testimony of another broken person who’s been healed by the blood of the Lamb? Has anyone beckoned him to come and see a Man who can heal every wounded place and restore every shattered piece?

I wept that perhaps no Christ-follower had ever looked at him with a smile and extended hand, but had probably rather turned away in revulsion.

And I wept that I wasn’t sure what I would do if I encountered this man on the streets.

I’m pretty sure my husband thought I was kooky as I sobbed for this man I will never meet. I was kind of surprised myself.

But when the tears finally subsided and I began to process what was happening in my heart, I was flooded with supreme gratitude for this proof that God is living and working in me, producing in me a tenderheartedness I could never muster on my own.

What is the proper view of Christianity and transgender people? This honest post considers the importance of compassion, with Jesus as our example.

Jesus’ Example

Matthew’s gospel tells us that Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction (Matthew 9:35).

What did He see in the crowds?

He saw people.  This one’s illness. That one’s disability. Her heartache. His grief. Their addictions. Wickedness. Good intentions gone bad. Selfishness. Greed. Sin.

What did He make of it all? Because I don’t know about you, but I’m desperate to know what conclusions He drew about the messed-up plight of humanity as He gazed at the masses.

I’m sure a lot of thoughts went through His mind, but we’re told only one. And I can only imagine that’s because it’s the most pertinent one for us.

He had compassion for them (Matthew 9:36).

If anyone had a right to turn away in disgust, it was Him. This perfectly sinless One. This Lamb without blemish.

If anyone had a right to take offense at what they had become and give them a good tongue-lashing, it was Him. He had created them, after all.

But instead He concluded that they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36).

Harassed by God’s enemy.

Helpless against his power.

Harassed by sin’s lure.

Helpless against its appeal.

Harassed, each one, by his own sinful nature.

Helpless against its domination.

And then He says something quite amazing to His disciples – those who had identified with Him and left all to follow Him and devoted their lives to Him, just like you and I have done:

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38)

Jesus spells out pretty clearly what our right response is.

The short answer is to pray earnestly, and while that’s the most important take-away, there’s another implication here for us. An implication we’d better come close and look hard for, because it will make a difference in the way we view this thing.

Because before we can pray earnestly, we have to see people the way He sees them. Beyond the sin. Beyond the disgrace. Beyond the shame.

To the harvest.

Seeing the harvest means seeing the needs of people and caring enough to be passionate about them. Not passionate about their sin and how they’re offending my delicate sensibilities, but passionate about people who are hurting and broken and needy, entrapped and enslaved by sin and Satan when they don’t have to be.

Passionate about how for them, Jesus’ cruel death on the cross is going to waste.

Passionate about how much God wants to draw all lost souls to Himself and magnify His glory through their lives.

Passionate enough to pray earnestly, longing for more laborers.

And maybe even passionate enough to become a laborer myself. A laborer who is utterly aware of the power of one in the life of one. Who is willing to be uncomfortable and do hard things in hard places with hard people.

Just like our Savior.

With Him as our Example and the Holy Spirit as our Guide, we just might change the world.

Not by our compulsion.

But with His compassion. 

What is the proper view of Christianity and transgender people? This honest post considers the importance of compassion, with Jesus as our example.

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32 Replies to “Christianity and Transgenderism”

  1. Rebekah

    Excellent – compassionate and full of grace. Thank you for sharing your perspective and, as always, for sharing Jesus. Blessings, friend, as these words go forward!

    Reply
  2. Megan Elford

    This is a beautiful post, and one we would do well to remember. This should become our mantra – seeing people the way Jesus sees them.

    I knew a guy like that once (I was raised in a Christian home in a Christian community, and have only seen this kind of heart once!). He literally couldn’t sleep at night because there were people out there, out on the streets, wherever, that didn’t know Jesus. He would spend most of his nights and when he wasn’t working, wandering around looking for people to share the Gospel with.

    It’s amazing how easily the rest of us get caught up in our own plot line, and we forget to see people for what they’re worth – the death of Christ on the cross. Thank you for this reminder to see others through Jesus’ eyes.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Wow! I wonder what became of that man, and what kind of ministry he’s involved in. That kind of heart doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’m grateful that God doesn’t give up on me! He keeps hammering away at those parts of me that are so undesirable, fashioning me more into His image. Thank you for sharing this testimony.

      Reply
  3. Brandi Clevinger

    Based on the title, I was thinking the post focused on something else. Regardless, I read it with an open heart and I completely received your words and message. The message was clear and received whole-heartedly. Thank you for focusing on praying for others despite sins and other elements. I believe this is part of the foundation of Christianity.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Brandi, thank you for stopping by! I would value your opinion about how I might need to amend the title so it more accurately reflects the content. Thank you for pressing on in spite of the confusion.

      Reply
  4. Mary Dolan Flaherty

    Jen, this is such an insightful post. I had to go back and read the “harrassed and helpless” things a few times. Very thought provoking. A couple years ago, my adult daughter and I were in NYC walking down a street, and there was a young girl, maybe a teenager, sitting in a sort of with a guy and a dog, very dirty and disheveled…she was clearly either an addict or homeless or both. There was something so pitiful and sad about her. My daughter said, “Where’s her mother?!” as I was thinking, “This poor girl has a mother somewhere who is worried, heartbroken and possibly praying.” It had to be a Holy Spirit infused thought since we both had it…it was almost as if we saw a glimpse of her life through the eyes of Jesus. We didn’t do anything; what could we do? We didn’t know… but we saw her again on the way back from where we were going and she was at least talking and moving. We were still moved to the point where I never forgot her. In NYC, it’s so easy to just walk by everyone on the street. There are too many. I don’t know how Jesus did it! I want a heart like His. Thanks for a great post (and for reminding me of that girl so I can pray now!)

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      We humans are a rather hopeless bunch, aren’t we? I’m so grateful for God’s grace in granting us a living hope, and one that we surely don’t deserve. Thank you for sharing this story – I just took some time to pray for this girl, too.

      Reply
  5. theresa

    Love this! Thank you! I think there are two extreme ways to go with this issue and neither is healthy or good. One– to find transgenderism beautiful and glorify it. The other, to ridicule and condemn. This is a real psychological issue that many broken people have. They need our love. They need our prayers. They need Jesus!

    Reply
  6. Bonnie Lyn Smith

    WOW! Great great blog topic and response! This got me —-> “Passionate about how for them, Jesus’ cruel death on the cross is going to waste.” Isn’t that so true? I am so grateful you wrote about this. My heart agrees with your heart because we are unified in the Spirit. I just hadn’t found the words–in one-on-one discussions, yes, but not in blog form. So happy to be tweeting and pinning this one! His heart is so beautiful, if only more folks could find the peace and deep well of love there…it’s infinite and already bought for them. I love reflecting on this as a harvest of love. Blessings from Espressos of Faith!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Hi, Bonnie! I thought long and hard about that quote you pointed out, but I do believe it’s true. God wants to draw all people to Himself, and He paid a high price to facilitate that relationship. Thank you for sharing how this post resonates with you – I’m glad our hearts are united as sisters in Christ.

      Reply
  7. Jenn

    This is so beautiful, Jennifer. I was moved to tears just reading it. It makes me think of that Casting Crowns song, Jesus, Friend of Sinners…”Break our hearts for what breaks Yours….
    Love you, friend.

    Reply
  8. Lauryn

    Wow. Amazing insight. Never much thought about some of the things I’ve read from you. They cause me to ponder just how far we, those who call ourselves Christians, have fallen from the example of He who leads us. Ouch. Good thought-discussion starters. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Lauryn, thank you for such generous words. I’ve found the Bible to be a great starting point for ponderings like this, as I take the time to think about what it really says, instead of making assumptions based on what I’ve always thought. It takes effort, though, to be sure! My brain has a lot of areas that need to be untrained and retrained. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Ryn Thornburg

    This was beautiful. I love to show love, the best kind one can give out, the love of Jesus. These people need Him as much as we do. Just because we ate already saved doesn’t mean we are Scott free (as my Grandpa says) we still need to lean on Him and go to Him daily. Just remember before you go to turn you nose up at someone who is different that you or is in sin, remember that you were once as deep in sin as they. There is no little sin in God’s eyes. You just got clean before they did. So show them the light don’t yell at them, show them the way. Who knows you might be the seed in their heart or you may be the last sprinkle of water they needed to grow. Jesus died for all and he loves us so much. That’s all I have to say. John 3:16

    Reply
  10. Abbie Hall

    This is truly an amazing post! I find myself guilty of all of these. Especially the one where it said we are hypocrites if we point out their sin while harbouring ours. But what I don’t understand is how are we supposed to try and lead them to Jesus if we still feel guilty about our sin? I am one of those promiscuous teens. I struggle with all sorts of things. Mind you I haven’t lost any of my virtue, but…

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Hello, Abbie, and welcome! Thank you for stopping by, and for sharing your heart here. You asked, “How are we supposed to try and lead them to Jesus if we still feel guilty about our sin?” The short answer is: we can’t. Leading someone to Jesus is a supernatural work, requiring divine equipping and leading by God’s Spirit – His Spirit that is not accessible to us if we’re walking in sin ourselves.

      Thankfully, the Gospel means we can confess our sin before God, receiving His forgiveness and being cleansed from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9) Hallelujah! Furthermore, the Gospel means we can and must walk in self-control. Paul tells us so clearly that we can expect our testimony to be meaningless if we’re not exhibiting self-control in our lives (I Corinthians 9:27).

      Finally, the Gospel means we can and must walk by the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). And as we walk in the Spirit, free from known sin in our lives, it is then that we can see clearly to have proper discernment in helping others with their sin (Matthew 7:1-5).

      If I can answer more questions for you, please don’t hesitate to get back in touch. God doesn’t want you to bear the self-imposed label of “one of those promiscuous teens.” He made you for so much more!

      Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Hello, Lloyd. Thank you for taking the time to read and to share some feedback with me. The definition of judgment is “the ability to come to reasonable conclusions.” Nowhere in Scripture is this forbidden. What is forbidden is for people to create unbiblical standards for others, or to condemn people who don’t haven’t yet received Christ as Savior. I’ve done neither in this article. Observing people who aren’t living according to God’s created design according to what He Himself has said, and pointing out that those people are in need of compassionate help and truthful love, do not constitute condemnation or unbiblical judgment.

      If you’re interested in more information about what the Bible really has to say about judgment, you can find it here.

      Reply
  11. violey

    i have read you thoughts in your articles on homosexuality and transgender and i agree about compassion and that we need to get the gospel out to the hurting world but please forgive me because i will not participate in sin so that i don’t condemn. when i go to a function that i know is against the will of God. do you think God will say its OK she was just showing compassion, i think not. this is what you want believers to do. remember shadrack and his friends, they chose not to worship an idol because it was wrong and they said so. going to a gay function is actually validating the sinful lifestyle.
    this is what i believe, living in sin whatever form is wrong and condoning sin is equally wrong. no two ways about it.
    thank you

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Hi, Violey, and welcome. Thank you for reading, and for taking the time to share your thoughts here. I must confess that I’m a little confused about where in my post I encouraged Christians to “participate in sin,” or where I said they must attend gay functions in order to show compassion. I believe that the only thing I’ve said about attending a gay function is in response to reader questions, in which I said that believers should use careful and prayerful discernment when invited to a so-called “gay wedding.” If you can point me toward a quote or a post where I’ve made attendance a mandate, or demanded participation in other gay functions, that would be most helpful to me. Otherwise, I must conclude that perhaps you’ve gotten my posts confused with others that you’ve read on the subject. Thanks again for reading!

      Reply
  12. Joanne

    It’s amazing how you could judge the lack of everything you mentioned in the prostitute’s life, but watching a 3 minute clip of her arrest. Being transgender (which is not a word that properly describes the condition), is a medical condition cause by the adrenal glands of the baby when in the mother’s womb. It either produces too much of a certain hormone too late in the pregnancy or too early. The adrenal glands of the baby are what produce the initial testosterone or estrogen that dictate what reproductive organs will form. If the production of the hormone is not timed just right, the body will form before the the hormones get a chance to form the brain to either male or female… Which can be differentiated upon autopsy. The brain physically forms as the opposite of what the body appears to be. This is why there are corrective treatment and procedures, to align the body with the correctly based on the gender of the brain. It’s not a choice, it’s not a feeling, it’s not a want or desire, not a psychiatric problem, not a spiritual or emotional environmental mishap, it’s a physical medical condition that can and will end in suicide or homicide, and those who defy that statistic, battle with depression and have to deal with strangers and family that listen to the pope, and reject the child. It’s impertinent that people, religious or not, know and learn the truth and science of this diagnosed hormonal condition. It’s not a result of good or bad parenting, not a result of abuse or neglect, and does not come from care or lack of care during the prenatal time frame or there after. This is a condition that is set in stone before the baby is born and can not be prayed away as diabetes, thyroid disfunction, or the common cold can not be prayed away. By misgendering the woman you saw on tv, and proclaiming her as “him” perpetuates the misguided idea that it is up to anyone to invalidate a person’s suffering of a medical issue that can not be cured without proper hormone therapy. Think of this, after menopause or hysterectomy, a woman cannot produce enough estrogen. In many cases, deepening of the voice, facial and other body hair, and a less feminine look may begin to appear. What do they do to treat a woman who cannot produce enough? They replace the estrogen hormone with either bio-identical estrogen or synthetic. The same goes or insulin for diabetics and thyroid replacement therapy for hypothyroid sufferers. I don’t understand what this is so hard to understand, maybe the information isn’t readily available unless one googles it. The only reason this condition falls under the gay community is because they were the only ones to take a stand and place us under their umbrella. Many feel as though it doesn’t belong there, because it’s not a lifestyle choice, but at this time, not many other groups stand with them, and they need somebody. I do not want you to weep because they are unfortunate souls, I want you to weep because from the time they ar babies, someone is shaming them for a medical condition they had/have no control over, until they see an endocrinologist to address the hormone deficiencies. I want you to weep because children are shamed and called sinners and evil and perverted and pushed to suicide because society has successfully broken them. I want you to weep because these people are being murdered, because some people believe that your God wills it so. I want you to weep for the Americans, that feel the that it is an abomination for them to be born with an illness and go on and treat their condition, while the rest of the world meets them with understanding, education and love. That is compassion, compassion is not misgendering, compassion is not having a platform and using it to imply that a child with that condition is a product of abuse or lack of religion and loving upbringing. Compassion is to live and let live, compassion is to do extensive research before drawing a judgment or conclusion on an issue that effects half of America, and leading people to believe things you have not educated yourself in. I hope you take from this, not only a lesson in anatomy and physiology, but a humbleness that can only come from opening your mind and broadening your horizons. Because God wants you to know the fact I order to be a greater and more fair leader of his flock. God bless and good thoughts.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Hello, Joanne, and welcome! Your comment has provoked much thought, and I thank you for that.

      First, I want to clarify that I do not follow the pope. As a Bible-believing Christian, I am compelled to uphold God’s Word as the ultimate source of truth and the only infallible measure for everything in life. This means that my experience and the experiences of others are filtered through a biblical lens, as are logic, reasoning, and even science. I do not reject experience, logic, reasoning, or science outright, but I consider them carefully in light of what the Bible teaches.

      God created males and females; His Word does not differentiate between genitalia, brains, hormones, and the like. And so I did as you suggested and performed several Google searches about this issue to see what science had to say, but I’m afraid it wasn’t as fruitful as you indicated it would be. There were some resources that state this is solely an issue of biology, and some that indicate environment is a factor. Apparently, that there is much study that remains to be done. Nevertheless, many of the statements I made that you found offensive are statements I would make about a male or female prostitute without gender dysphoria as well – I grieve that so many place such low value on themselves and have led very troubled lives, when God loves them so much and values them so highly that He sacrificed His Son for them (John 3:16). This ought not be so.

      Gender dysphoria is very complex issue, especially for those suffering from this condition, but also for those researching it and for those of us who are wrestling through it spiritually. My goal in this post was to simply help my fellow Christians find compassion for a group of people who are clearly in pain, and who are often shunned in repulsion. I’ve never claimed to know everything or to have the only right point of view. I’m doing the best I can with what I know, and when I know better, I’ll do better. If you’re interested, you can find more about that philosophy here. Thank you again for taking the time to share from your experience.

      Reply

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