On September 9, 2016, Time magazine featured an essay telling the story of a man giving birth to a son. That might catch you off guard, especially since human biology does not allow for biological men to give birth. “This was designed to document the brave new frontier transgender individuals are promising to bring to America. A frontier that requires accepting the supposed reality that men can give birth and other gender dysphoria.” *Andrew Walker
We might be tempted to respond with shock and dismissal or judge someone disparagingly by reducing someone’s psychological experiences of gender dysphoria to derangement. But how are Christians to respond to a person experiencing gender dysphoria? Our approach to these individuals is to be with “grace and truth”, John 1:14. They are victims of a fallen world and the enemy “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” I Peter 5:8. Somehow a door was opened that allowed a deceiving, lying spirit to enter a person. It may be a generational curse, abandonment, rejection, fear, confusion, etc. When these demonic spirits enter, the victim will experience distress, anguish, and conflict over their perceived gender identity. In most cases, their experience cannot be reduced to simply “living a lie” since most don’t feel they’re lying to themselves. In fact, just the opposite is true. People with genuine cases of dysphoria believe it’s their biological body that is lying. A person in this situation truly believes he or she is a member of the opposite sex.
Path to Freedom and Joy
Understanding how and when the enemy deceived an individual helps us recognize and get to the root of why they perceive themselves the way they do. Biblical counsel, that doesn’t simply repeat what political correctness demands, offers an opportunity for genuine counsel and compassion. It begins by helping a person accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Then it addresses and embraces, however difficult it may seem, that their birth sex is a testimony to their true nature, and that perceptions of a different gender identity, while sincere, do not constitute an actual identity change. This truth, spoken in love, sets people free, John 8:32.
We do not want the stories like the one in Time Magazine to become the new normal in America. If not addressed, the pace of acceleration and the implications will be enormous, touching almost every area of life. Christians must have an understanding of compassion and sympathy—as well as love and hope—that goes deeper than simply affirming another’s experiences as normative and praiseworthy. We are called to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” Mark 16:15. There are ways we can support and connect with those who are struggling with their gender identity:
- Get acquainted with individuals and have open conversation. Don’t assume you ‘know’ what their authentic gender is or you know what they are going through. Don’t assume anything.
- Listen attentively. Open yourself. Every person’s gender journey is distinctly theirs; there are no cookie-cutter ten steps to success. Who is this person? What matters to them? How do they talk about their gender? Their passions? Their needs? Listen.
- Ask questions about how to help or how to be there. Don’t ask questions about their body or money or therapy or how this will impact their family or their job or their relationship.
- Offer prayer and support. Listen to what their central worries are and consider if there is a way to fortify them as they take steps toward authenticity and self-affirmation.
- Look for opportunities to share the love of God. Don’t give advice about anything unless you are asked. If you are worried about self-harm, call a hotline and get confidential advice.
- Keep their confidences. They are your support and prayer assignment.
- When they are ready, lead them in the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, You are present in this room and in my life. You alone are all-knowing, all-powerful and everywhere present. I declare my dependency upon You. I ask in Jesus Name that you forgive me for opening the door for gender confusion, fear, rejection, anguish and conflict. I repent and renounce any agreement I made knowingly or unknowingly. I command all evil spirits to release their hold on me. I believe the Word of God. The Bible says when Jesus sets me free, I am free indeed. I decree, I am free and chose to live the life you chose for me before the foundation of the world. In Jesus Name, I pray. Amen.