Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Answering the Transgender Question:

We are raising our children in a different world than the one we grew up in. The transgender issue does not appear to be going away anytime soon and I believe sooner rather than later we will be forced into a conversation with our children about our transgender neighbors or a transgender individual they saw on television. Here is what I will share when the day comes that Piper and/or Bryant have questions.

God Made Gender

I will remind my kids that way back in the early pages of Genesis it says that God created gender: “Male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). We don’t get to choose our gender. Whether one is male or female is in the creative power and wisdom of God. Someone may struggle with “feeling” male or female, but that doesn’t make him or her different than God intended.

In the beginning, God determined that two genders were the perfect expression of his image. In the man and in the woman, then, God’s image is displayed—both in the individuals themselves and in the way they relate to each other as same (human) and as distinct (gender). One isn’t better than the other, nor did God design a way for humanity to switch between the two.

We All Struggle with Identity

I want my kids to be able to adequately navigate the waters of sexual identity for themselves. This is a watershed issue in our day that isn’t going away.

So I will explain clearly to them how this young man or young women they met identified himself more as a woman or vice versa. We will then talk about how everyone struggles at some level to understand who they are and why God made them the way he did. I will reassure them it’s normal to wrestle with such issues of identity, but that gender identity in particular is determined by God, and that transgender expressions won’t “fix” what’s going on within. I want them to know that any “gender transitioning” is a shortsighted attempt to fix a common human struggle, and will likely add to the confusion a person already feels.

Where Worth Is Found

Ultimately, though, I want my kids to have empathy for this young man or young woman. They can see from his demeanor and physical mannerisms that he wasn’t doing well. In fact, he’d told me he recently had a mental breakdown and was getting some neurological tests to determine what was going on.

I want my kids to fight the natural bent of their hearts to judge and snicker. I want them to show the grace and compassion that arises from feeling the hurt someone else carries with them. I want them to deeply understand who they are before the Lord—and even if they don’t get that far, that they at least understand who God made them to be. I want them to grasp that without careful answers, you can start down a path that only leads to greater confusion and heartache.

The gospel-less culture around us champions being who you are, but offers only tips and tools that lead you away from being who God created you to be. So absolutely, I want my kids to be themselves. I want them to look different from my wife and me. I want them to have their own adventures, to walk their own paths. But I also want them to be equipped to find their worth in Jesus, so they can help others navigate the tricky roads ahead. I want them to know that they and everyone they meet has value, worth and dignity because everyone is created in the Image of God.

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