Nowadays, we’re told that there are not just two genders – that sex and gender are not the same thing – that true gender identities are a social construct. It’s hard to keep up with all the “new” genders out there. And if you fail to refer to someone by a preferred pronoun, you may get accused of a hate crime. It’s all very confusing. How should we respond?
In today’s society, people can apparently be whoever or whatever they choose. A man can identify as a woman, a woman can identify as a man, and some humans even identify as animals. There are those who identify as neither male nor female, non-binary, or literally whatever they want to call themselves. These new genders come with new pronouns, as well. And this so-called “progressive” society seems to have some pretty high expectations that we all must live by. Each new identity demands to be validated by everyone. You’d better call them by their gender-neutral or otherwise “special” pronouns, or else.
Now, if you are a traditional-thinking old fuddy-duddy like me, you still subscribe to the archaic idea that there are only two genders: male and female. But this notion is said to be silly, oppressive, and even downright intolerant by progressives. You can’t possibly be an enlightened and caring person if you still hold to those old-fashioned ideas of gender. Instead, you’re certain to be labeled with some word ending in the term “phobic.” Because, you know, you obviously fear them.
Okay, let’s put sarcasm aside. To be fair, many people go through one type of identity crisis or another. But gender confusion or uncertainty is especially unique. There can be several causes, and it’s not something to take lightly. All situations are not the same, and there is no quick fix. Unfortunately, some people immediately jump to a singular bold conclusion: I must be trapped in the wrong body!
Often, there are deeper issues going on. Most people have things about themselves that they don’t like. In our modern world, if you want to change your appearance, it’s easily achieved. Nip this, tuck that, change your face, change your body – all through a surgical procedure. And when you combine gender dysphoria with a general dislike for yourself, you get a recipe for making a really bad decision. Rather than a life-altering surgery, it’s likely more advisable to get some counseling.
There’s no shame in going to therapy, though you want to make sure the person is qualified and reputable. But making drastic changes to your body can affect you in ways you never imagined. And it doesn’t address the underlying issues at all. The attempt to “redefine” yourself might bring a sort of “honeymoon” period when you perceive that life is better, but it never lasts. Those issues of self-doubt or even self-loathing will return. And people who transition from one sex to another are far more likely to commit suicide.
Need for Acceptance
All of us have basic emotional needs, and being accepted is at the top of the list. From the time we are children in need of parental acceptance to being adults and needing acceptance by our peers, this need is constant. But what happens when we are unable to accept ourselves? There is a feeling of desperation to be accepted by society, and if we don’t feel that we are liked by people, we don’t like ourselves. We’ll try to alter ourselves in many ways: hair color, eye color, piercings, tattoos, clothing, etc. When none of that works, depression sets in.
The dominoes continue to fall, and it leads to all sorts of emotional problems. Throw in a little confusion about your gender, and you become highly susceptible to whatever trends are currently promoted by society. They’ll encourage you to make a major life-changing decision, but they aren’t the one that decision will affect. They can’t know what you’re going through. Who could?
The truth so many people overlook or choose to ignore is that there IS someone who understands everything you are going through. Yes, I’m talking about God. He understands every single aspect of your body, soul, and mind – because He created you. There is no one more qualified to help than Him. And your need for acceptance is something that He designed within you. It’s a need that He alone can fill.
As with pretty much everything, our Christian or Godly approach to individuals going through this should be one of love and concern for their well-being. Being viewed as simple-minded religious nuts doesn’t need to stop us from caring about and praying for them. How will they ever come to know the love of God and learn how He can help them feel accepted if they don’t get that from us? It is through God’s people that needs are met. If you get called a trans-phobe in the process, keep on showing them nothing but love.
Importance of Identity
Realize the importance of everyone’s identity. It’s part of that need for acceptance. But know that the key to gaining real acceptance for one’s self won’t be met through worldly means. God made us, so He holds all the answers we seek regarding finding out who we are. The important thing to learn is who we are IN HIM. But how do we do that?
First, we must accept who God is. He is Creator of all things. He made heaven and earth and all that we see, as well as all we can’t see. He carefully designed us right down to our DNA. And He is a loving God. He cares deeply for His creation…for us, His children. He is also a holy God. Sin is the thing that separated us from Him because sin cannot stand in the presence of our holy God. This is why He provided a path for our redemption. He sent Jesus as the perfect, sinless, sacrifice for our sins. Why? Because God loves us! Christ is the proof of that love. Why would He love a lowly, imperfect, sinner? That’s just God. That’s who He is!
Once we accept who God is, we accept His Son. Jesus, the one who lived a blameless life and paved the way for our salvation, is an extension of God’s love. The Bible tells us that Jesus didn’t come to condemn us, but He instead came to save us. Accepting who Jesus is -our Savior – is at the heart of our Christian walk. Without Him, all is lost and everything is meaningless. But WITH Him… We are loved, we are accepted, and we are able to once again stand in the presence of Almighty God!
After this, accepting ourselves becomes almost automatic. We have to accept that we are flawed human beings, born in sin, and in need of Jesus. Accept that we aren’t perfect. But also accept that, even in our imperfections, He has already accepted us and desires to make us new. That’s what Jesus does – He makes all things new. Through Him, we are made perfect. Through Him, we are more than conquerors. Through Him, we have been made heirs to the kingdom of God. That is who WE are. No matter what society or anyone else tells you, you are NOT a mistake.
Back to Genders
Part of accepting the things I just covered is accepting what God’s Word says. Those who think the scriptures can’t be reconciled with your gender confusion issues actually don’t want to accept His Word as true. But there is no confusion in what the Bible says about the matter.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.Genesis 1:27 [ESV]
Oversimplification? Nope, not really. There was a purpose in every single thing that God created. Likewise, there is a purpose for you. But remember, since the fall of man in the garden (when Adam and Eve sinned against God), imperfection entered the world. Before that, God had looked over all His creation and said that it was good. It was perfect until we (mankind, humans) ruined it. So we have to own up to those sins and imperfections, then accept that Jesus came to free us from those bonds – otherwise, our sins and imperfections will own us and enslave us.
Everyone has issues. Not all are the same, but we all have them. One person may have problems with anger. Another person might be struggling with an addiction. And, yes, others have deep emotional issues such as depression, self-loathing, and/or gender dysphoria. Each person’s struggle is unique, but none of them are bigger than our God can handle. We just need to avail ourselves to the help He offers. He wants to free us from our bonds, and He will when we let Him. He gave us free will, and He won’t force Himself on anyone. We have to WANT His help, and then ACCEPT that help.
If you are someone who is going through this or a similar situation, you might ask, “How? How do I get God to help me?” You may have your doubts, but don’t let that stop you from talking to God. He loves you. His desire is to help you learn who you are supposed to be. He wants to show you His purpose for your life. So, put all your doubts aside, and pray this simple prayer:
God, I accept who You are. You are my Creator. I accept that I am an imperfect being. I need Your help. I accept Your Son, Jesus, as my Savior. I acknowledge that He took my sins and imperfections to the cross and bought my salvation there. And Lord, right now, I am asking you to take me and mold me into the person You made me to be. Help chip away all the areas of my life and personality and anything that doesn’t belong, and show me who I am in You. Please be patient with me, and help me stay in Your will. And may my life reflect You and Your love. In Jesus’ name, I pray… Amen.
Now that you have accepted Christ and asked for God’s help, begin to seek His will for your life. You can do this by getting into the Word, the Bible, His instruction booklet for us all. If you’re afraid the scriptures are going to be too heavy and difficult to understand, put those doubts and fears aside. Start slow, and ask God to illuminate His Word to you. In other words, don’t make it harder than it needs to be. God wants you to understand His will for you, so He’s not gonna make it too tough.
I recommend you begin reading about the life of Jesus in the Gospels. The new testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are called “parallel” writings because they all cover the same period of time. They are from four different perspectives, so you’ll be able to see how different people saw the same happenings. A lot of it will seem repetitious, but that will help you soak it in. As you read, take your time and let God speak His truths into you. You just might be surprised at how much you actually get from it.
From there, I would jump over to 1st and 2nd Corinthians. Why? Because these are examples of letters written (by the apostle Paul) to a specific church – a church with many people who, just like you, were relatively new to the Christian faith. And one of the most important truths for a new convert to remember is found in Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthian church…
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.2 Corinthians 5:17 [ESV]
That’s YOU! Once you have accepted Jesus, you are a new creation. Leave your past behind you. Your life is now made new in Him, and you can trust him to guide your steps. Don’t let satan steal away what God has given you – a new life! Continue to seek God’s will, read His word, and find yourself a church or Christian small group for support. There is great power and opportunity for growth in the company of other believers, so don’t cheat yourself out of that.
Don’t give in to the “gender blender” mentality. Don’t let yourself be bullied by society. Don’t let them decide what is best for your life. Trust God to show you who you are meant to be. Let His Word be your guide, and let it make you new and make you wise so that you can know for yourself what His will is.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans 12:2 [ESV]
You are not trapped in the wrong body. You are not a mistake. You are a child of God, created for a purpose. Claim your purpose today!
SUPPLEMENTAL READING: More and more regret gender reassignment surgery – https://bit.ly/35zVKxp