There I sat in Panera a couple weeks ago across from a guy that I barely knew. He had reached out to me, wanting to grab lunch. After getting our food and making some small talk, he began to open up. He shared that he always hasn’t felt right in his own skin. He feels like a woman and has always found it easier to connect with and trust women. He also confessed that there was a few months stent that he really wasn’t going to church. During this time, he started taking hormones to help transition his body. Since then he has stopped…..
Webster Dictionary defines “transgender” as a person that identifies with a gender that differs from their sex at birth. I admit that I cannot literally relate to this experience. But I do know what it’s like to not be understood and to not feel like you can share your experience with anyone. This can become so damaging to any individual, no matter what it is that you are dealing with. Feeling as though you are alone always amplifies your experience to the point that it can overtake you.
But you don’t have to be alone!
Thankfully, Jesus promises to never leave us. He alone is able to sympathize with every pain and hard thing that we might face. This can be applied to all things, even those that experience transgender feelings and desires. Even when friends, leaders, and family might not understand or care to try to understand, we can be sure that God does.
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
Christ who had no sin, the perfect Holy One, was given a human frame and was wrapped in “sinful flesh”(Romans 8:3). Christ definitely then understands what it’s like to be in the “wrong” flesh. Let me be clear to say that I don’t think that Christ struggled with gender identity. Christ did suffer though and learned obedience through it. So, He understands mistreatment, rejection and being misunderstood. He experienced the ultimate affliction.
Knowing that Christ understands this, we should run to Him even more quickly when we face difficult things. He took our shame for us on the cross and now calls us to BOLDLY approach Him. No matter what, we can always calls on Him and come to Him. He’s always waiting with a smile and love to receive us as His children. We no longer have to be alone. We have an advocate praying for us daily because He is committed to our good. He really is for us!
As this man continued to share, I admit that I wasn’t shocked by what he said. I say this not to mean that I had any indication that he was originally going to share about this. I wouldn’t have ever guessed actually! No, I’ve had my own share of others responding not favorably to my own story–so I know how that hurts. Because of my own experience, compassion, empathy, and love has grown in my own heart. However, I did wonder, “What helpful things can I say to him? Who am I to be trusted with this information when I’ve never experienced this nor can relate?” This was my first interaction on a personal relational level with someone that is working through being transgender. So I admit on some level that I felt over my heard and inadequate. I didn’t try to pretend to have the answers or say that he’s wrong for feeling what he does. I didn’t tell him to pray more or that we need to go after some demon. I first thanked him for being so bold and trusting me and sharing this with me. I admitted to him that I’m not going to try to pretend to understand what his experience is like, but that I want to learn. I told him that I would like to hear more with time and get to know him more. I did then give him some resources of books and websites that I’m aware of of christians that can relate that have made it through this. I also told him that I’m committed to pray for him and to be there for him however I can. He doesn’t have to go through this alone. As I finished my BBQ Chicken flatbread, I asked him, “What do you need? What can I do to help?” He said, “It’s helpful to be able to talk about it so just being available to listen is enough.”
The only thing I knew to do, I will continue to do: I will listen. Will you?
LEAVE A COMMENT – SHARE YOUR STORY
Have you ever felt alone when dealing with something? Is there an area that you need to run to Jesus with? Will you be a friend that listens and prays for the LGBT Community or those in your church that are struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction, sexual identity, or gender identity?