No, this post is not a “hot take.”
No, this post is not an in-depth examination of the “bathroom laws.”
No, this post is not the definitive Christian apologetic on transgenderism.
This post is simply a story about my friendship with a kind, compassionate, interesting person who is transgender.
My friend “T” and I met a few years ago when “T” came to the church for whom I preach. That day we struck up a friendship that has blessed both our lives.
Over the years, I have provided emotional support for “T” when others treated “T” badly, I have given “T” money when needed, I have eaten with “T,” I have given “T” transportation, and I have prayed for and with “T.” In turn, “T” has been a good encourager to me and has broadened my understanding of and empathy toward those who are different from me.
“T” calls me on a regular basis just to say “hi” and check on how I’m doing. I can’t recall having a conversation with “T” that didn’t involve laughter. We enjoy talking with each other.
When “T” has visited our congregation, our members have welcomed “T” and treated “T” with respect and dignity. On several occasions, “T” has told me how much he appreciates the way our church treats him. “T” knows that he is always welcome.
“T” also knows that I believe God created human beings as male and female and that transgenderism is a distortion of God’s created design.
So why does “T” keep calling me and coming to our church?
Because “T” also knows that I believe that every person has value and worth since each person is created in the image of God. And “T” has seen me living out what Christ teaches about loving our neighbors.
Yet, my view – the Christian view – has been labeled as “bigotry” and “hate-speech.” And that’s what many people think of me, because in our society a non-endorsement of a particular view is somehow equal to real actions of discrimination and abuse.
But those people don’t know me and they refuse to look at my deeds, my conduct, or my treatment of others. Honestly, I don’t think they care to because it’s easier to paint entire groups of people with a broad, preconceived brush.
And it is easier to do that. But it’s not o.k.
It’s not o.k. for me to do that to people who see things differently than I do, and it’s not o.k. for others to do that to me.
I am not a perfect person by any means. I am a sinner. But I am trying my best to follow my Savior. I am trying to balance what Jesus balanced so well – standing firm in the truth of God’s Word while, at the same time, accurately reflecting the loving, merciful, and gracious character of God.
I’m not a hateful or vengeful person. I’m not a bigot or a racist. I’m not a “homophobe.”
I’m not a threat to anyone’s rights or way of life.
I’m a humble guy from the humble country with a humble job, and I’m humbly doing my best to help people “see” Jesus by “living out” Jesus for them.
That’s why “T” and I are friends.
I’ll let other people deal in theory where it’s tempting to define others without actually knowing them.
Meanwhile, I’ll be sharing a laugh and a meal with “T.”