No, I’m not talking to those who are transgender—I’m speaking to the friends and family of someone who is transgender.
Guess what? You just might be a lot like the apostle Peter. I know I would LOVE to be a lot like the apostle Peter. I mean, Jesus told him when he changed his name to Peter that “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Wow! That’s pretty good company to be associated with, right?
But I’m talking about the same Peter, who after spending three years side-by-side with Jesus, denied even knowing the Son of God. Here’s Luke 22:54-62 from the NIV: “Then seizing him [Jesus], they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.”
[pullquote]If you don’t feel like you are equipped to defend your transgender friend to others, in particular from a Biblical perspective, then talk to them about it. [/pullquote]
When push came to shove, Peter couldn’t come out of the closet as a follower of the Christ, Jesus, God incarnate. Is THAT the Peter you want to be like? (I’m hoping that anyone reading this would want to say “no” to that question.)
So how do YOU feel about your friend or family member who may be transgender? Are you accepting, kind, and welcoming to their face, but don’t talk about them to anyone else? Do you avoid either in person or online admitting that you have a friend who is transgender because you’re worried about how your own friends will react—and you’re not sure that even as a Christian, you can defend your friend or family member? And so, you don’t acknowledge them publicly, be it in person or online. You don’t “like” their posts and you don’t even teach your children that they should love “those” people. When you hear someone you know saying mean or rude things about “those transgenders”, do you speak up or shrink back into the background, wishing they knew your friend but yet afraid to speak up yourself?
Maybe because you know them, you put them in a “special” category, that they’re not like the “others” who are transgender, and therefore maintain your bigotry toward those who are transgender without appearing to be a bigot to the one you know.
I see this so often within the Christian church. You develop a friendship, you learn they are transgender and because you know them, you re-align what you think about THIS person because somehow… they are “special.”
Would you introduce your transgender friend or family member to someone and feel comfortable if it came out that they were transgender? I’m not saying that should be the first thing you say… “this is my friend so-and-so and oh, by the way, they are transgender.”
If you don’t feel like you are equipped to defend your transgender friend to others, in particular from a Biblical perspective, then talk to your transgender friend about it. But, if you start with John 13:34 “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jesus said it Himself) it really is pretty easy.
Peter wasn’t willing to take whatever the risk was to admit that he even KNEW Jesus—never mind that he was one of Christ’s disciples.
When someone says something negative about people who are transgender, do you speak up and say something because you know differently, or are you afraid if you do that your own judgement will be questioned?
If you think it’s hard for YOU to admit publicly that you have a friend, someone you care about and love who is transgender—how much harder do you think it is for someone who is transgender to tell those they care about? Are you afraid people at your church might think you’re Christianity isn’t fully up to snuff?
People who are transgender, and in particular CHRISTIANS who are transgender get close to (or succeed in) killing themselves because there are so many Christian who in ignorance say it’s a sin. When you hear church leaders and famous Christians say it, many more immature and not well versed Christians just go along and agree, and the “group think” takes over, and then even some who are transgender believe it—then they kill themselves in despair—with no hope.
So… Do YOU believe that someone who is transgender can be a Christian? If that’s true, that one can be transgender AND a Christian, are you afraid to say so?
[pullquote class =”left”]If you fancy yourself an ally of a mistreated person or group, yet aren’t getting hit by the stones thrown at them, then you aren’t standing close enough[/pullquote]
If you feel a little guilty about this, I hope you’ll PRAY about this. That’s because this is not a political issue, this is not even a spiritual issue—it’s a personal issue. It’s a LIFE issue. It’s personal to you and it’s personal in the lives of those who are transgender.
How do you, how does the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ look at people who love the Lord but happen to be transgender? Being “tolerant”, even being “welcoming” but with reservations is not loving them, it’s giving yourself and/or your church a pass—it’s avoiding the hard personal conversations and the hard corporate conversations that are needed if you are to be honest with yourself and with those you say you’re in support of.
Pastor Stan Mitchell of Gracepointe Church in Nashville said “If you fancy yourself an ally of a mistreated person or group, yet aren’t getting hit by the stones thrown at them, then you aren’t standing close enough.” I’ve certainly had stones thrown at me by pastors from other churches online, and my spiritual mom and personal “mama bear” came to my defense in a big-time way and let some self-righteous bigots have it, and she was hit with some stones as well. I’m not saying you have to become an activist or get into heated discussions over it, everyone has causes that are important to them—but I don’t think you may be aware of how important you are in helping the lives of Christians who are transgender.
When you like, share or comment on a post, an article online, or even share your support in a conversation with someone if it comes up, you help others because they now realize they don’t just have to think what they’re supposed to think—what “everybody” thinks, that maybe they can think for themselves, that maybe they don’t really know much (if anything) about people who are transgender and should learn something from you before passing judgement for themselves.
People expect me or others who are transgender to be biased, duh! But when you who are not transgender share your affirmation of your transgender friend or family member—that speaks volumes to people in your sphere of influence. If anyone should ask you why you would support “someone like that”, really all you have to say is “I KNOW them.” You don’t have to spout Bible verses, you don’t have to tell them the latest scientific research, all you have to do is say “I know them, and because I do—I know it’s not all as black and white as some folks seem to think.” If you’re a person respected by others, your words are GOLD. Even a simple “Like” from you speaks volumes to others.
Changing hearts is a one-on-one sport until we can get more people of influence (speakers, pastors, etc.) to publicly say it themselves.
And let me add at this point, I’m not talking about political posts, I myself don’t even like or share posts related to transgender issues if they’re political—I don’t even agree with everything I see, there’s just no upside to it.
If you’re already liking, sharing and commenting on your transgender friend or family member’s post, then none of this is directed to you.
But if you treat them like the crazy Aunt in the basement that you never talk about or acknowledge, I hope you’ll consider coming out of the closet yourself and help those in your circle grow and learn should the opportunity arise. And you can always refer folks to my website where I have lots of information posted over the last 2+ years, and if they would like to talk to me (a biased transgender person) then I’m game.
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