As I sit down to type this month’s blog (and the accompanying content for my podcast episode), I’m pondering a subject I’ve never really discussed in much detail — to my knowledge. Even as I think about this topic, I come back to the Lord with a question: Is this really something You want me to dive into? As you probably know, most of my blogs, podcasts, and devotionals (items under the AS BOLD AS LIONS umbrella) come from a Scripturally-focused, Bible-study sort of format. Occasionally I’ll think, that’s my lane and should just stay there — try to avoid tough things or even offending people. But then I think, why? If we are “as bold as lions” what does that mean? I look to the verse itself for some help in this area: The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion. (Proverbs 28:1) Our faith requires a boldness that often means we go headlong into the battle when others are running the opposite direction.
I’m dealing with a subject that has its share of controversy today and is a hot-button item in our culture: the transgender movement. I don’t relish talking about this. It’s honestly something I’d like to avoid. If you had said 5-10 years ago this issue would be prevalent today, I don’t know if I would’ve believed you. It is a true reflection of just how much our society has changed and what is going on spiritually in our nation/world.
Many know I live in Tennessee and with the Covenant School shooting last month, the aftermath still feels real and raw. I’m not one who likes to post a blog or response to something just because as I don’t want to react to every event. But what happened at Covenant is certainly in the back of my mind as I formulate thoughts and put together this message. As we know, the shooter was transgender (a biological female who identified as male) and a Christian school was targeted. That is a statement of fact. As of this writing, the shooter’s manifesto has not been released. There’s much we still do not know. But there is an underlying greater issue at work here and it is an issue the enemy is working hard to bring against the church and believers. At the same time, he is ruining the lives of children and teens who have decided to go down this path.
So that’s where I want to go today. Talking to both the individual who feels a pull to identify as trans (or is actively in that lifestyle) AND to the church. This could probably be a month-long or several part series honestly. There’s a lot to be said. Truly my words will only scratch the surface. But in prayer, I’ve asked the Lord to help me reflect His heart and to use the Bible as an authority on a subject that I am not. His truth always prevails. His lovingkindness prevails. Into a difficult subject, we stand on those two components (truth and love) without bending.
As we get started, I have some items first to say to the trans individual. I want to be clear that this is directly from my keyboard to your eyes (or in the podcast, my voice to your ears). It’s one-on-one. I don’t want to address a community because even though this is its own subculture, I feel my efforts are better suited to hit home on a personal level. I know saying what I’m about to say could bring immediate rejection and “cancellation” simply because I’m coming at it from a Christian perspective. My hope is that on a case-by-case individual basis, you will read (or listen) to this in its entirety and then address me individually if you would choose to (email firstname.lastname@example.org). I ask that whether you agree or disagree with what is expressed.
Some thoughts to the trans-identifying individual:
1. You are loved and made in God’s image
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
You have the mark of the Divine on you. You are loved by and intricately woven together by a loving Heavenly Father. In the Bible in Psalms it speaks of this: For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13. No matter what you are tempted to identify as or the way you look at yourself, remember that God formed and made you. You are no accident and He made you with His stamp of approval — that’s the only one that truly matters!
2. In this fallen world of sin, the enemy wants you to believe you were made wrong
For he [Satan] is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44
The enemy is a counterfeiter. What God creates, he counterfeits. God created you as beautiful and whole but the Devil wants to make you feel broken and insecure — in every way. Part of this is making you feel not right in your own skin. “I was born in the wrong body” is a lie from the pit of hell; a lie that sounds like it needs fixing and outside intervention in order to be made right again. God didn’t mess up. He made you just as He wanted to and your gender is something uniquely wired to you. Satan wants to keep you questioning all of this to the point where mutilation and chemical castration leave long-lasting and permanent scars. You have to keep going back to the Image Maker and see truly what you were created to be.
3. The influence behind all of this is demonic
And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” Mark 5:9
I’m going a bit deeper on this point but I hope you can follow me. In Mark 5 there is an encounter Jesus has with a demon-possessed man. What always struck me about this interaction is the initial response the man (called “the demoniac”) has with Jesus. It’s Mark 5:9 as mentioned above. “We are many” is his response and it’s literally the demons inside of him talking. With the accompanying pronouns and gendering of trans individuals (he/him, she/her, they/them), I’ve especially thought of this man. A compulsion to live outside of society (because he was an outcast), a self-mutilator (he cut himself with stones), and in particular, speaking of himself in the plural (“We”). Please understand that what is behind the trans movement is nothing new: it has been around for centuries. But we deal with it too lightly if we merely brush it off as “not feeling sure in my own skin.” If you are trans or feeling a desire to go down this road, there is a heavily demonic undertow behind all of it. I’m not sure exactly how it warps thoughts and feelings but, as evidenced by the Covenant shooter and others like her, it is a spiritual oppression/possession that takes over. I say this to both the individual and the church: what is happening is demonic and it has to be dealt with through prayer and standing in authority on God’s word.
4. Seeking affirmation outside of God’s will only brings pain
You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. Psalm 16:11
If I can be honest with you for a moment: you may find affirmation in certain places in your life in being trans. It might be an echo-chamber you surround yourself with that says “Be who you believe is truly you.” It may even be the prevailing pop culture (celebs, athletes) or science/medicine that says this is right and best. But if we are completely honest, at the end of the day when it’s just you and no one else, there is still a void. There is a still a feeling of “something’s not right.” There are some horrific statistics for people who have had “sex change” operations. One alarming one is that the suicide rate post-surgery is as much as 20 times those of comparable peers (from https://www.heritage.org/gender/commentary/sex-reassignment-doesnt-work-here-the-evidence). Depression and anxiety rates are higher in this subset. Despite anything that affirms a person in this lifestyle there is still so much pain and a feeling of just not being right.
5. Jesus is the only way to find freedom
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6
On a one-on-one level, these are the only words I have that are of any use. But I believe they are words of truth and life. Jesus is the answer to those struggling with the idea of being trans and this issue of “gender dysphoria.” I believe there is a new mind that we are given when we turn our lives over to Christ and profess Him as Lord. That new mind gives you the ability to see yourself as you really are: a child of God; His treasured creation and possession. Perhaps this is just a start to a conversation you need to have with someone (myself or otherwise). To find a church or a Christian you can go to. If you can’t think of anyone, I’d love to be a listening ear. To follow Jesus just takes acknowledging your sin, believing He died for your sins, and confessing Him as Lord. I pray you will consider taking this step if you have not already.
Likewise, I have some thoughts for the church. This may take a broader brushstroke; maybe not so much on an individual level as much as it is to the collective body; those who are Bible-affirming and uncompromising in God’s truth. Sadly, the church has either fully embraced a skewed view on this issue or just avoided it entirely. I pray we keep the conversation front and center.
Some thoughts to the church:
1. Prepare for the hurt that is coming
And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25:40
I hate to say this but I believe it’s coming. Those stats on depression and suicide are just the tip of the iceberg. The fallout from the trans movement is going to bring a flood, nay even a tsunami of broken and hurting lives. Both for those who have fully transitioned and those who have dabbled in this area but perhaps not made permanent changes to their bodies. This issue is absolutely wrecking a generation of kids…we just haven’t seen the full impact yet. Speaking on this transition process: “Initially there is a lot of attention and affirmation. But by their mid-20s, they realize transitioning didn’t solve all their problems and they want to go back. But it’s too late. The changes are permanent.” (From https://news.ag.org/News/Teenage-Transgender-Trend)
As those individuals grow up and look for answers, may the church be a place in which help and healing is found. The stories of “de-transitioners” are powerful and can be used as testimonies for those in a similar place. The church needs to have resources or access to resources as these things start showing up more and more at the front door.
2. Realize this is part of a larger sinister and evil plan
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
What I see going on with the trans movement actually has some crossover to what is in the pro-abortion movement. Namely a decreased value on the sanctity of life and the worth of the human soul. If you were to depopulate the earth, what would you do? Stop babies from leaving the womb and being born (abortion). Sterilize babies already born (transgender surgeries). Both are evil and both address their own subset of the population. But if we can see this all for what it is, we will fight in the right arena and with the right weapons. I began 2023 doing a podcast series on The Armor Of God. It’s a series I’d love to have you listen to if you haven’t already. I believe we need to know these weapons well. In Christ, they are at our disposal. We neglect them to our own peril and downfall.
3. Be unwavering in truth, be unwavering in love
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ. Ephesians 4:15
This is a delicate matter. As mentioned, I was hesitant to even go down this road because I know it is so emotionally-charged. But if we can have those one-on-one conversations, we can allow the Holy Spirit to speak words that bring life and truth. Jesus met the woman at the well in John 4 right where she was at. He knew her past with failed marriages and relationships. He did not condemn her. But He also loved her enough to tell her the truth and to reveal that He is the Messiah. We must love people enough in a way that shows them the path to life. To not engage and have these conversations is really to “love them all the way to hell.” That’s not a phrase that fills the pews on Sunday morning but it’s true. We have to love in a way that says all have sinned and all have fallen short. But praise God for sending His Son Jesus to make a way for us!
In closing I want to express something that I believe is at the heart of all we deal with today in this “identity-seeking” culture. We’ve lost God’s standard. Whether it be in marriage and family (one man, one woman) or outside the home in our jobs, schools, government, etc…in all aspects we’ve written God out of our lives. And we’re reaping the whirlwind of those decisions now. I firmly believe that. We are in a place now of being a minority voice. The Bible is no longer an authority on life. Being a “Christian nation” with values that reflect Scripture is outdated and archaic. Yes there are times we’ve gotten it wrong as we’ve taken the name of Jesus into various arenas. But in so many ways we’ve just retreated when we faced opposition. Our fear of what will happen to us has overridden our faith and resolve in Christ.
I remember this as I consider releasing this word out to the masses: Christ faced opposition and warned that we would too. John 16:33 states “In the world you will have tribulation.” But what’s the promise if we keep reading? “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Jesus goes with us and goes before us into any battle we face. He overcame and we will as well if we trust in Him. I hope that is an encouraging word for you if you are a believer. And if that is something you want to know more about, please reach out!
I love you guys and as always, I love walking this journey with you.
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Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17