Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them- Genesis 1:26a-27 NIV
Like every human over the age of forty, I have witnessed a great deal of change over my lifetime. Some of these changes have been wonderful, others meh and some others have been simply awful. It’s fair to say that no area of human society has seen more change in the last two decades than the areas of gender and sexual expression.
Back in the day, there were men and woman.
Those two options pretty much covered the scope and scale of the gender spectrum. A man might have wished he was a woman or dressed like a woman but all of society would have agreed that if a human was born with a penis that was all the evidence needed to declare the person a man. There were women who impersonated men but it never occurred to anyone that a woman behaving like a man might actually be a man. How one chose to express their sexuality (gay, straight, bi-sexual) had no bearing on whether or not a person was male or female. Gender was determined by this thing called biology.
Biology is so 1955.
There is now a whole gender spectrum to choose from. Among the plethora of options, one can now be male, female, androgynous, transgender, gender queer, non-binary, gay, straight, bi-sexual, pansexual, asexual, gay trans, bi-sexual-trans, binary trans, gender questioning and gender fluid.
For all sorts of really rational reasons average Christians have struggled to address this issue in a logical, respectful and kind way. It’s a difficult issue to wrap our minds around. Further complicating the whole messy muddle any objection to or questioning of the gender spectrum is perceived by most non-Christians and some Christians as transphobic, homophobic, regressive and mean. Consequently, Christians have either ignored the problem altogether, avoided discussing it outside of Christian circles or ridiculed the whole situation openly. Regrettably, none of the aforementioned strategies actually do anything to help Christians act as salt and light in our increasingly confused and broken world (Matthew 5:13-16).
Ephesians 6:14 commands Christians to stand against evil ideas. In order to do that we have to understand from a biblical perspective what’s wrong with a particular philosophy and where it will likely lead us.
The gender spectrum is clearly one of the Satanic schemes the Bible warns us about (Ephesians 6:11, 1st Peter 5:8). The notion that there is a gender smorgasbord out there with dozens of different options from which to choose from is an assault on God’s design. It is also a direct contradiction to God’s assertion that He created human beings as male and female only (Genesis 1:27). Among other things, this particular assault is intended to generate doubt concerning the goodness and truthfulness of God in the minds of people who are struggling with questions regarding sex, sexuality and gender. It’s critical we remember Satan has been planting doubt concerning the goodness and truthfulness of God since the dawn of the human race (Genesis 3:1)
Human beings were made for connection with God (Genesis 3:8). It’s inherent in our design. Because most in our culture have rejected the Creator gender identity and sexuality have become a strange form of religious expression for those who have spurned belief in God (Romans 1:24-32). This explains the peculiar post-modern practice of folks introducing themselves by stating their name, sexual orientation and gender identity. Sexuality and gender give their life meaning and is where they find their identity.
This turn of events ought to break our hearts because it breaks God’s heart, It should not drive us to despair or hateful rhetoric. Rather, we should be overwhelmed with grief for a generation that has lost its way morally, spiritually and sexually. There are six practical things Christians can do to help lead our culture come back to a healthier understanding of sexuality and gender and back into right relationship with God.
Love our neighbors-
We should look for ways to love everyone, even those super messy people who freak us out a little bit. We must search for ways to engage people who are different from us. The engagement must be done in a spirit of both truth and love. It helps no one when we bend our beliefs to placate the culture. That being said, people need to know there is God who loves them beyond measure who wants to free them from the spiritual and sexual bondage they’ve gotten themselves into.
Pray for revival-
It almost goes without saying our world has problems that cannot and will not be solved using human methods. We have fallen too far down the proverbial rabbit hole. We supernatural intervention. Stat. Prayer is the only way to get the intervention we need (Ephesians 6:18, 1st Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer has the power to transform unbelievers and give believers the spiritual power needed to love the lost and hurting. Christians are commanded to make a practice of praying for everyone all the time. If your church has a regularly scheduled prayer time, go and pray. If your church does not have a scheduled prayer time consider starting one in your home. Invite your friends and begin by praying for revival. When people truly get right with God their view of gender and sexuality will align with what the Bible says about these issues.
Model healthy families-
It has never been more critical for Christians to have healthy, functional family units. The world needs to see families where men protect and nurture their wives and children and where women respect their husbands and make mothering children a priority.
Celebrate the differences between men and women-
God made men and women and different from each other. The diversity in the created order is a beautiful thing that deserves celebration because both men and women reflect the image of God in different ways (Genesis 1:27) Little boys should be told it’s a good and special thing to be a boy and little girls should be told it’s a beautiful thing to be made female. If we don’t the world will step in and tell them something different.
Stop being weird-
There are Christians who believe it is wrong for men to cook or do housework because it’s “not manly” and an “affront to God”. Others believe that women should never work outside the home or attend college. There are still Christians who sincerely believe a woman should remain “under the authority “of her Father until she is married. These absurdly antiquated ideas are almost impossible to backup biblically without twisting Scripture and they make Christianity look really weird to non-Christians. Weird does nothing to further our cause.
Last but not least.
Christians must speak the truth with an attitude of love and grace. Admittedly, this is tricky and difficult. But it must be done. We simply have to find ways to engage people in hard conversations where we tell them the truth in loving tones and with a spirit of humility rather that self-righteousness (Ephesians 4:15). If we can do this we might have a shot of not just changing their minds on gender but also turning their hearts towards Jesus.