As our children come to us with questions, as they are greeted with ideals and opinions that differ from their beliefs, use this opportunity to call on the help of the Holy Spirit and speak Truth into your children about transgenderism and other topics.
Scanning the holiday gift guide of my favorite home magazine, I naively assumed it was safe for my daughter to look over my shoulder. My daughter, nose wrinkled in confusion, pointed to an image in the magazine I was reading, "Mom, what does this mean?" Her finger landed on a pin that said, "they/them," with the caption, "the perfect gift for the general-neutral friend!"
I paused and briefly thought about dismissing her question, turning the page, and moving on. But my daughter, while only eight, had been recently exposed to various new concepts, lifestyles, and beliefs that differed from our family's. In the last few months, we'd discussed divorce, homosexuality, and God's design for marriage and children, so I guess now was the time to address transgenderism.
Christian parents work hard to protect their children from worldly influences and principles contrary to God's holy intentions for His chosen people. While it is essential to filter our children's media choices, monitor their exposure to technology abuse, and guard against ungodly influences, we must be careful about completely ignoring anti-christian practices. We live in a world so corrupted by sin that our children are constantly exposed to blatant disregard for God, the Church, and Christianity.
But we aren't without hope; we have help as we fight spiritual battles. As our children come to us with questions, as they are greeted with ideals and opinions that differ from their beliefs, use this opportunity to call on the help of the Holy Spirit and speak Truth into your children about transgenderism and other topics.
If you, like me, have been approached by your children on this topic, let's look at how we can educate our children with grace and Truth:
Very few times, our children pick the most opportune time or give us a heads-up so we can prepare for their questions and challenging conversations. Often, my children ask in a crowded grocery store line how the Trinity works or in the middle of going to the bathroom what happens to people who don't know Jesus. As parents, we must be spiritually prepared (1 Peter 3:15).
Similar to the airplane crash protocol, we must follow the "put on your mask first" concept. We must ensure that our hearts and minds are filled with biblical truth. No, we are not responsible for having an in-depth answer for every situation, but through daily Scripture study and prayer, we are better prepared when issues arise. Make sure that you are aware of today's "hot topics," seek godly guidance through your pastor or Christian subject matter experts, thinking through how your family would address the issues with your children. We can't teach what we don't know ourselves. Commit to Bible study and a deeper understanding of the proper Christian response in various situations. Pray daily for your children, and ask that the Holy Spirit guide and direct you, seeking wisdom from above (James 1:5) as you encounter various problems.
Understanding What the World Says About Transgenderism
Because 1.4 million people currently identify as transgender, we can expect our children will have questions, and we can prepare by understanding what the world says about the topic. When speaking to our children about transgenderism (and in general), we need to ensure that they understand what the world says, what the Bible says, and our response as Christians. Often, when our children ask us about something, it is just for informational purposes. They have been exposed to an idea they've never encountered and are seeking information. As parents, we are laying the foundation that our beliefs and actions are a response to the Truth of the Gospel. However, it's often essential to clearly outline the world's stance on the topic before turning to Scripture.
WebMD states, "Transgender is a general term that describes people whose gender identity, or their internal sense of being male, female, or something else, does not match the sex they were assigned at birth." A simple way to break this down for your child, no matter their age, is to explain that there are boys who believe they should be girls and girls who think they should be boys. I understand for many in the LGBTQ circles, this is an oversimplification of an issue that is multi-faceted and complex. Still, we are just trying to give our children a general idea of the term.
There are numerous categories within transgenderism and various combinations of sexual preferences and sexual orientation. Some transgender people don't identify as either male or female and are referred to as "non-binary." Those who identify as non-binary often change their pronouns to they/them (as in my earlier story) to not align with any one sex.
What the Bible Says About Transgenderism
Genesis 5:2 tells us, "He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them "Mankind" when they were created." At the beginning of creation, God ordained two distinct sexes, male and female. Kevin DeYoung perfectly summed up the Scriptures when he said, "In short, the Bible teaches that God made us male or female, and no matter our feelings or confusion, we should act per the biological reality of God's good design."
Depending on your child's age, it might be appropriate to discuss God's purpose for creating male and female (Genesis 1:28) and how it's only physically possible for a naturally born male and female to reproduce (Genesis 1:23-24). If you have younger children, you could explain that God created boys and girls with different body parts that he intended would identify them as male or female.
God is sovereign over creation, which includes every detail about each human being born on this earth. God chooses each person's eye color, hair color, personality, and sex; even the time and place you were born serves a purpose (Psalm 139:13). The Bible is clear on this issue that our feelings do not choose our genders, rather our Creator determines whether we are male and female via our biological makeup.
How Should Christians Response to Transgenderism
I found the Christian response to be the hardest to fully explain to my daughter. Intellectually and spiritually, I understand that we are called above all to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:21), all people are created in God's image (Genesis 1:27), and we are cautious to think the sin of transgenderism is more significant than our own (Matthew 7:1-4). However, grasping the concept of "hate the sin, not the sinner" is difficult for most adults and nearly impossible for children.
After we share with our children what the world says and what Scripture says, we share that we are called to love others as Christ loves us. While, as Christians, we understand that transgenderism goes against a Holy God, it is not unforgivable, and we pray that the Holy Spirit would open their hearts to see their sin and turn to Him. If our children interact daily with a transgender child, we urge our kids to treat the child with respect and as an equal.
While we disagree with transgender's choices, we are to refrain from making fun of them or engaging in gossip at their expense. Encourage your child to invite the transgender child to church; perhaps that will open the door to a conversation that could lead to a changed life. As parents, how we speak and act towards the transgender community will likely dictate our children's responses. As believers, we caution ourselves by carefully holding the tension of not promoting, glorifying, or supporting the transgender movement while not villainizing those involved. Let's be people who are open to conversation and willing to befriend those who are different than us.
After all, we all suffer from the same problem; we are sinners in need of a Savior.
The world is filled with the consequences of sin. We don't even have to leave our homes to see the many ways our fallen creation rebels against God. May God grant us wisdom as we seek to love people, talk to our children about topics such as transgenderism, and hold fast to the truth. We know that it is the truth that will set us free (John 8:32).
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