There is a lot being said as of late about the transgender issue.
What if a guy wants to identify as a woman? What if a woman wants to identify as a man? What if a woman wants to identify as a cat? What if a female-identifying man wants to use a female restroom at a certain supermarket? What if a person wants to identify as a 7 year old version of himself?
And frankly, this is a conversation that makes me very anxious. I have loads of anxiety in me because I don’t know how to respond. I am a pastor and there are lots of people who, if not yet, will soon look to me to provide a godly answer about how to respond to a transgender person as Jesus would. This scares me because there are so many bad ways to respond, but not a lot of good ways. On the one hand, I would never want to disagree with God’s commands in what I say or do; on the other hand, I would never want to tell someone who does not yet know Jesus that he doesn’t love them or that he didn’t die for their sins too.
In this conversation, there are lots of Christians who error on either side of this discussion. There are some Christians who will say that if a person chooses to deny the way that God created them and become transgender that they are no longer worthy of love or kindness. But there are other Christians who will not say anything at all and choose to defend man’s desires over God’s genius in creation. And this is not godly either.
So how do I respond when my response could very easily misrepresent Jesus?
I don’t know. But I do know a few things:
First, those who identify as transgender are doing so because they they need love. They believe that they will receive more love (if even from themselves) by doing so. They are human beings who are created in the image of God. They are human beings who are created with a need to be loved, but have been hurt at some point in their life.
Second, Jesus died for them. They are human, and as such, are sinners. And because of that they are human beings for whom Jesus died. And God doesn’t wait for someone to clean up their life before loving them. For example,
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
“And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, ‘This man (Jesus) receives sinners, and eats with them…'”
Jesus identified with sinners because he was more concerned with seeking them and saving them (cf. Luke 19:10) than condemning them (cf. John 3:17). He identified with me, a sinner, because he wanted to start a relationship with me that lasts forever. And I am eternally grateful.
I don’t really know how to respond to the transgender frenzy and the anger that is being stirred up on either side. I wouldn’t know what to say to the little girl who identifies as a boy. I wouldn’t know what to say to Bruce who identifies as Caitlin. And I definitely wouldn’t know what to say to the woman who identifies as a cat.
But I do know this: I identify as a sinner…just like everyone else that has ever lived.
And Jesus receives sinners.