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How Christian Parents Can Talk to Their Children About Transsexuality
At a local Austin-area swimming pool, my daughter innocently asked a child if they were a boy or a girl. The appearance of the child confused her.
“Technically, I’m a boy,” the child told her.
Technically? What does that mean? How do I explain this to her?
Moreover, how do you explain the major shift our world is experiencing when it comes to the general acceptance and promotion of transsexuality to a child who you are trying your best to raise according to the standards of the Bible?
In the past, normalizing homosexuality has been the focus in our media. Today, there isn’t a television show that isn’t somehow trying to add a gay or lesbian character into the storyline.
Transgendered people create confusion that doesn’t come with other sexual preferences. With homosexuality, a male looks like a male but happens to enjoy the sexual/romantic companionship of males instead of females. Transgender people don’t inherently identify their sexual preferences with their gender assignment. A male that identifies as a female might be attracted to men or women.
While gender identity and sexual orientation seem related, it’s important to understand that they aren’t synonymous. Transgendered people even have their own flag that is NOT the gay pride flag we are used to associating them with.
Why I’m Addressing this Sensitive Subject
You could be talking to a male who looks like a female and never know it. It happened to me! The only reason I found out the woman I was speaking had been born a man was because I was passed a business card that claimed transsexuality. We’d been talking for almost two hours, and I had no clue! The operation that had turned male body parts into female body parts had occurred over 20 years before.
After finding out, I felt a plethora of emotions. I felt lied to. I worried about what we’d discussed. Also, I was so confused as to how to properly handle the situation as a Christian. I wanted to be loving, but also biblical.
Since that day, I’ve been reading the Bible and praying how to handle those moments. I want to prepare my children to handle the increasing media influence surrounding transsexuality and help them know how to react to transgendered people when they come into contact with them in the future.
Succinctly, we are to BOTH to judge and NOT judge people. But when it comes to deciding on what IS and IS NOT sin, you are ONLY the messenger. You may or may not be called to judge the actions of a person, but you cannot ever alter the message of the Bible.
I find that when dealing with sensitive subjects it’s important to stick to exactly what the text says.
To reinforce this idea, let me paint a scenario to explain this concept.
If you tell one child to go to the other children and give the message, “Mom says you cannot have candy.” Then, the child goes to deliver this message to the others. While giving the message, one of the children says “But I did my chores!” Then, the child with the message says, “Well, I guess…since you did your chores…you can have candy.” The child did not deliver the message as spoken. Even if the mom decided to reward the child who did their chores with a piece of candy, the child who gave permission was not authorized to give that permission and is then held accountable for their actions. Furthermore, if the child who did their chores heard the command to “not eat candy” and decided to eat a piece of candy because of the illegitimate permission given by the other child, they too are responsible for their actions. Both will be punished.
When faced with questions that are beyond the scope of the text, rather than making assumptions with your own human understanding, it’s best to say, “The Bible says…and that’s all I’m willing/allowed to say.”
The Bible says that many will follow the easy road of acceptance and sin, but the one Christ calls us to follow is hard and narrow to follow.
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14
Let your children know that most people will disagree with their choice to stand up for the truth. The Bible states that only a few people find the way which leads to life.
It’s no good to sugarcoat and say that standing up for righteousness will be easy. The Bible says that Jesus was hated and that we will be hated as well.
Discuss with your kids that it’s not easy to say unpopular things. Prophets died for foretelling doom and gloom when Israel’s kings wanted to hear nothing but prosperity. Prepare your children to understand that standing up for the Lord is better than being accepted or being liked.
The Bible recognizes only two genders: male and female.
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
There are no third genders. We cannot assume anything other than two genders.
God made us either male or female. We do not get to choose which one we want to be because God already chose it for us.
In the world, people are born with abnormalities of their sexual organs. This is a result of the Fall, not of God’s design.
We cannot judge what will happen with those few exceptions to the rule, but the majority of transgendered people do not fall into that category.
To reinforce God’s creation, we should explain to our children that the sexual organs created by God don’t actually fulfill their ultimate function unless they join with the opposite sex. (Source: OpenBible.org). God allowed only male/female sex to produce a child; therefore male and females complement each other. A third gender does not promote this concept; therefore, is contrary to the Lord’s initial design.
4. Remind them that We Can Love People Without Condoning Sin
Children are very black and white. There is good and bad and not much in between.
They also have a problem separating the sin of a person from the actual person.
I cannot tell you how many times my own children will explain what I’ve said in a completely ungracious way even when I painstakingly told them in a way that was full of understanding and grace. I have to continually go back to the drawing board and re-explain that people and life are complicated. Bad people do good things and good people do bad things. This is a heavy concept for a child, but one that continually needs to be said.
My children will often tell their uncles who smoke that “smoking is bad for them” which is better than “you are a bad person for smoking.” All people have fallen short of God’s glory, sinful and evil…but when you say “smoking is bad for them” it makes people understand that you are caring for their well-being, rather than judging them as a whole.
While many would argue that there is nothing specifically about transgendered behavior, it’s important to remember that it’s not just about what the Bible says as what it does not say.
For example, the Bible does NOT say God created man and another man that felt like he was a woman. He created a man to function as a man, and he created a woman to function as a woman. In this expression alone can they procreate. Considering God’s command was to “go forth and multiply” – this expression is a physical statement of God’s intent.
The scriptures say that “God is NOT a liar.” Therefore, it goes that he would not create a man to feel like a woman. To create male parts in conjunction with a female brain would be, in essence, a lie.
Other scriptures that are helpful are BOTH in the Old Testament and the New Testament are listed below. It’s important to NOT disregard the Law because of the grace of Jesus because Jesus himself says “not one word” will drop from the Law. Jesus expressly states that He did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. This requires wisdom to balance out this divine intervention between the Law and Grace, but it doesn’t render the Law ineffectual. In fact, the Bible says the Law is a “schoolmaster” that leads the sinner to Christ.
Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 1 Co. 11:14
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. Leviticus 18:22
A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 22:5
For many years, scientists believed that the earth was flat. For someone to assert the earth was a circle according to Isaiah 40:22 would subject them to ridicule among the scientific elite.
Science got it wrong. And science can get things wrong again. Science can change, but God does not change.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8
When you believe a scientific theory or evidence attached to scientific theories as true, you must also be administering FAITH in science.
But if you are a Bible-believing Christian, you must have faith FIRST in Christ and then hold everything out to be examined under THAT microscope first…then the microscope of science or culture next. You cannot have it both ways. When the Bible contradicts science, Christians must hold the Bible is correct and science is misinformed. For if you throw one part of the Bible away, you must throw it all away.
And it’s a message that I, personally, don’t want to overtake my children’s thinking.
In order to combat the lies, you must tell them the truth OVER and OVER.
8. Hold Fast to the Fact Feelings Don’t Equal Truth
Emotions are very powerful. When you meet some amazing person who makes you laugh or cry with their personality or story, it’s hard to remember, despite however much you might love or like them, that feelings about them don’t mean they are right.
The closer you get to a person, you access their heartache and pain. You start understanding WHY they are the way they are. At least I know I do! And it’s easy to make excuses for their behavior.
As a parent, too often, I will say, “Oh, little Johnny is acting that way because he’s tired.” And other parents nod their heads in understanding. But “Little Johnny” behavior is not acceptable despite his being tired. It’s tolerated, but not the right way to behave. If “Little Johnny” always acted that way, eventually it’s a problem.
Feelings shouldn’t be our guideposts, but only the Word of God should be.
The Bible mentions this:
The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9
So, even if we really really really want to say that “it’s okay” to behave against the prescriptions of the Bible because we “feel” it’s okay…it’s not okay.
I believe that the issue of transsexuality will be an ever-growing (and very confusing) topic to navigate as Christian parents.
Teaching your children how to handle it BEFORE it ever actually occurs will help them to not be caught off-guard. Being ill-prepared will cause our children to come up on their own with how to handle the situation on their own.
The Bible says we are to prepare ourselves to rightly handle the word of truth. As parents, we must also prepare our children.
I hope you are encouraged to bring this dark and scary issue into the light for your children before the world does.
Head covering Christian woman who loves good coffee and stinky cheese. My favorite dessert is Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake. I am a Christian author, blogger, and speaker. I fell in love with my husband because he had rain drops on his glasses (true story). In my spare time I homeschool my seven children (5 girls, 2 boys).
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