I've seen a couple things floating around this week in the media. Laverne Cox, the famous transgender person that stars in the hit series Orange Is The New Black, made the cover of Time Magazine. A big first for the transgender community. Also, you may have seen The Whittington Family: Ryland's Story, a 7 minute YouTube video about a little girl named Ryland who, with the support of her parents, is living her life as a boy.
While I do understand feeling "different" than most people in the sphere of sexuality, I don't understand what people with gender identity issues experience. I've never wanted to be a girl. So I'm not going to be all like "I know what they're going through"-because I don't.
To suffer that sort of inward conflict has to be a level of misery off the charts. To feel a pull toward a completely different identity than the physical make up you exist in has to throw people into extreme levels of confusion and depression, especially if the only person that knows about the inward battle is themselves.
Sometimes people – even Christians – tend to have a "grow a pair and get it together" attitude toward people with gender-identity struggles. But try to imagine for a quick second about what kind of life that must be – to genuinely feel like you are trapped inside a certain-gender body that is opposite of what certain-gender you feel you are. As hard as you try to live out your God-given masculinity or femininity, you just can't. You try to be the girl that you are but you still wish you were physically a boy. You try to man-up and be the boy that you are, but you can't escape the feeling that you're just being a fraud.
As wrong as we may believe transgender hormone treatment to be, or as twisted as we may say reproductive-organ-reconstruction or male breast implants may be, we have to remember that this inner confusion is a very real reality for these people and they are just trying to find a solution. Not in the right place, of course, but haven't we all sought solutions to our issues outside of God at some point? I know I have.
Most of us can't empathize with what so-called transgender people deal with, but seriously… we should at least try to sympathize since we all deal with confusing and unchosen feelings/issues to some degree.
With all that said, I get angry because of stories about kids like Ryland. Angry at people. Angry as sin. Angry at Satan.
I am not the type of person that believes Satan is hiding behind every rock, but I do think that there is a demonic element at play when little girls actually start to think they're little boys, or little boys actually start to think they're little girls. Actually, I'm sure that demons are all up in that. God created men and women to reflect His image and Satan is all about distorting God's image. How better a way to do that than to get the image bearers to go against their own physical and biological make up? So-called transgender-ism is a literal rejection of God's creation and image. Satan loves it.
But Satan is not only to blame for this confusion. We are too.
The day that Adam and Eve represented us all (to the utmost accuracy) and turned away, at the enticement of Satan, from God, they launched the entire human race into a colossal identity crisis. We have all come onto the scene of this existence separated from God because of the sin in ourselves and the sin in the world. By nature, we don't know God relationally and because of that we don't know ourselves.
Our good Creator designed humanity to flourish within a certain structure. This structure is simple: we are to love God with all our hearts; we are to trust Him completely; we are to obey Him; and we are to enjoy Him forever.
But we all, just like Adam and Eve, are in violent opposition to that structure. We prefer another structure. Something like this: we love ourselves above all else; we don't trust that our Creator is good; we disobey Him and pursue a sense of identity, purpose and pleasure outside of Him.
Thankfully, God's response to stealing our lives from Him – yes, stealing our lives from Him - is not merely judgment and obliteration; although that will be his response for the many who don't embrace His alternative path.
The alternative path - the path of true identity restoration - is through Jesus Christ.
Jesus, substituting Himself in our place, endured God's wrath and hatred – yes, hatred - for our sins so that we could receive forgiveness and have the gap between us and our God closed. With all the enmity out of the way through the pardoning of our guilt, God begins to rewire believers' hearts and minds to flow with how He designed us to flourish – by being rooted in love and worship of Him.
But this gospel of God's grace isn't the "good news" we hear in the media. We hear, from all directions, a totally different "gospel message." I hate that our culture is taking this demonic and sinful confusion and throwing a new-social-group-label on it so that we will accept is as just another form of good, God-given "diversity" - I absolutely hate it.
My prayer for people like Laverne and Ryland is that the Lord would throw people into their lives that hold a biblical worldview and love Jesus. I hope that along their paths they will run into Christian people that are not ashamed to humbly and carefully be vocal about their beliefs. I pray that someone will tell these people about how sin has corrupted humanity and that because of that we aren't what we should be. What we feel isn't the measure of what is true. Our hearts are corrupt beyond repair.
But the good news is that they can be replaced.
"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules."- Ezekiel 36:25-27
I hope that in the days to come - where sexual and gender identity confusion is going to abound more and more - followers of Jesus will be just as vocal with the truth as Satan and the world are with lies. I hope we won't begin to give up on people or on our culture. I hope we won't begin to disbelieve in God's transforming mercy, grace and love available in Christ. I hope we won't believe that He's done working in the world and that we're just here to "wait it out" among all the evil and confusion until he comes. I hope we won't cower down, shrivel up and shrink back. I hope we don't get hateful and bitter. I hope we don't start pronouncing condemnation and judgment instead of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus.
May God work in the Church so that He can work through the Church to reach Adam's so-called transgender children, like Ryland and Laverne.