Photo Courtesy: cnn.com
It occurred to me that I blogged this topic about this time last year when Caitlyn Jenner had her big reveal. If you're interested in hearing what I had to say in that blog, HERE it is. I'm going to begin this blog with the caveat that I don't have all the answers. Only One does and that's Jesus. If you have a problem with that, then chances are you will not agree with anything else that I write in this blog. However, I recommend that you keep on reading purely from the standpoint of understanding. A wise man by the name of James was inspired to write, "Brothers, we should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" (James 1:19). Seek understanding before seeking to be understood. That's a good mantra to live by regardless of the discussion you're having. With that in mind let's seek understanding of this complex issue at the same time that we seek understanding from the only standard by which we judge everything and that is God's Word.
Some people suffer from a condition called "gender dysphoria" which means that they "have an experimental mismatch between one's psychology and one's biology." How many people are affected by this? "The American Psychiatric Association estimates the number of transsexual adults to be as low as .005 to .014 percent of men and .002 to .003 percent of women." ( http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/july-august/understanding-transgender-gender-dysphoria.html?start=3)
In Genesis 1:27 it says, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." God created male and female. He created these roles to be complementary, which means they complete each other. That's the reason why in Genesis 2:18, God said, "It's not good for the man to be alone." These complementary roles are needed for the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of society. As it says in Genesis 1:31, "God saw all that he had made and it was very good." God was perfectly satisfied with the way He had made male and female. God did not make a mistake when He made you with the gender that you have. In Psalm 139:14, the psalm writer was inspired to say, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
People with gender dysphoria struggle with being content with their sexual identity. They feel like they are trapped in the opposite gender's body. For some, it truly is a psychological disorder. There is treatment for those who struggle with gender dysphoria. God also gives us a wonderful promise when it comes to specific temptations. He says that "God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). For others, their challenge with gender identity may be a sinful lifestyle choice. When I express discontentment with who or how God has made me, then I am sinning against Him. I am not trusting His loving plan and purpose for me and I am not praising Him for His works in me.
The real issue here isn't about granting access to transgender people for their bathroom of choice. While some Christians are thinking that they should boycott Target and pull their kids from schools who may promote or allow transgender bathrooms, remember who is behind this transgender issue. It's Satan. Satan wants Christians to join the culture war and misrepresent Jesus. Satan wants Christians to make bathrooms the issue, when in reality the real issue is that transgender people, just like you and me, are sinful and in need of a Savior.
Based on Genesis 1 and Psalm 139, God has created us and wants us to be content with how He has made us. Whether we struggle with the temptation to be discontent with our body weight or with our sexual identity, God has called us to praise Him in loving response to all that He has done for us. Remember, Jesus came to seek and to save all people, even transgender people. He shed His blood on the cross to pay for all sins of all people. This includes those who struggle with their sexual identity. God wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
So, let's say Tony wants to become Tonya and walks into our church. She looks like a he, but identifies as a she. How do we react? Do we immediately cast judgment without knowing her story? Then we are a Pharisee, whom Jesus harshly condemned. Do we ignore her? Then we are not speaking the truth in love. Do we allow ourselves to be drawn into a friendship with her? I bet that's what Jesus would do. Don't approach her as a problem to be fixed, but a person to be loved and saved.
Our culture preaches tolerance and love. They say that it is unloving to discourage someone from doing whatever she wants. If Tonya's attitude and actions are leading her away from Jesus, then the loving thing to do is to speak up in a loving way. Remember, listen first, then speak. Seek understanding before seeking to be understood. Always approach the situation in prayer. Talk to Jesus. He knows the situation better than anyone. Ask for wisdom and guidance. He will answer your prayer.
What's at stake is where Tonya will spend eternity. There's only one of two places: heaven or hell. Jesus wants us to do all that we can so that when Tonya's life ends, she will be in heaven. The real issue isn't access to a bathroom. It's access to heaven. That's what matters to Jesus. After all, He gave His life on the cross and then took it back again three days later to make that possible.