How the Church can Love a Transgender Person
I was born male and felt from an early age, like a woman trapped in a male body. These feelings became stronger in my teenage years that I made a decision when I was a young adult to have a gender re-assignment. I first walked into church as a transgender woman.
The Liberating Truth Of Christ
Before I came to church, God had done a miraculous work in me. I was reading the Bible in my own time and was captivated by the life of Jesus that I decided to take the next step and look for a church. It had appealed to me to find a church that affirmed my present course in life. However, without yet becoming a Christ-follower – I felt the weight of incoherence behind finding a group that didn’t uphold the authority of the Bible. I had already come to trust God’s word as the truth and wanted to find somewhere where His truth, including the challenging parts, were being communicated.
The Power of Godly Love
From the first time I came to Church, a Christ-like love was demonstrated to me. I was invited into homes and shown with patience and care the liberating truth of the gospel and the call to be truly free by dying to self (John 8:32). In the early days, as I started to open up about my life and my transgender identity, I felt the love of the Christian who reached in to hold my hand and walk with me. I felt deeply cared for when I heard others say, “We are with you 100% of the way”. An encouragement that helped me to find my own convictions about what Jesus desired for my future.
After grasping the full weight of Jesus’s sacrifice for me, I decided to surrender my life to Christ. Part of that decision would mean returning to my God-given gender – as a man. There was an immense joy knowing that I would be in an eternal relationship with God and be with him one day. At the same time, I mourned my past identity as a woman. I needed the compassion and understanding of my church – the people I came to see as my new family to share my sadness with and take encouragement from.
Being Family to Young Believers
In my early days as a new Christian, the love of the church helped me to grow as I knew they were with me for the long haul. I needed the masculine Christian brothers to embrace me as well as the Christians sisters. When the whole Church takes responsibility to love and encourage a young disciple – it demonstrates God’s love and is a powerful catalyst- “By this, all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another” John 13:35.
So many people form strong social ties by the time they hit their late twenties, for many within the LGBT communities – following Jesus means adopting a completely different social circle. As followers of Christ, if we desire to be effective and win others to Christ, are we prepared to reach into the uncomfortable and open up our homes and become family to people who are different from us?
As Christians who are Bible literate and Christ-loving, we should place our confidence in God’s word, trusting that when we handle it correctly and present it fully – it will lead to deep transformations. Jesus’s ability to do both, speaking with an equal measure of truth and grace always led to deep heart transformations.
The Ultimate Cost
Bringing a sense of self-awareness of our own weaknesses put us all under the same category – sinners in constant need of God’s grace. God satisfying grace fuels our walk and gives us the strength to live as his followers. If we are too comfortable, the cost to the LGBT community can seem mean unless we are counting the costs ourselves. Only disciples can make disciples. Are we daily crucifying our self-centeredness, pride, greed? If not, we will feel unable to helps others follow Christ, and the church can easily become a social club.
God made me and knows what I need most to flourish. When I look at Christ- I see someone who paid the ultimate cost. Jesus was perfectly selfless and was without sin. He deserved no punishment, yet he took the sins of the world on his shoulders (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus went through emotional and physical pain, and God had to turn his face – I can’t imagine what that feels like. He did this, so my broken relationship with God could be reconciled, giving me salvation and a perfect example to follow.
Written by Brandon Redler
Brandon Redler lives in LA and is involved in Strength and Weakness Ministry, a resource which helps churches engage with the LGBT community by faithfully navigating issues of human sexuality. In his spare time, Brandon enjoys feeding his inner child by going to Disney World as often as he can..
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