We just put a guest suite in our basement. We did it to make our house better able to accommodate guests, those who may visit, those who may have need. But guests are often guests because they have needs. We want guests to enjoy their stay so we have tried to anticipate different needs they may have. So the basement now even has its own bathroom, with a heated floor.
If you are a Christian, your job is to open your life to those who suffer. The apostle minces no words in his command: “Weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). We should walk with the suffering whom God brings into our lives, as far as is possible, wherever they are and whatever decisions they have made. And the gender dysphoric truly suffer.
It is true that the malady of the vast majority of those identifying as transgender today has nothing to do with gender dysphoria. And it is also true that the condition itself varies in intensity. The experience may be tormented darkness or just periodic dismay. Yet there remain those among us, those at most 0.01% of American men (half that for women) who feel a continual discordance with their gender, a persistent distress, even into adulthood, with what their bodies tell them about themselves.
The ready treatment of the medical establishment is to quickly encourage (read: push) steps to imitate the opposite gender. This prescription is ostensibly to give relief, but any relief is temporary, giving way eventually to an even greater despair as the actual problems go unaddressed. Thankfully, there are those who are willing to question this path and who are open to help in Christ.
If you are a Christian, you can help them, you know. You don’t need an advanced degree or a license. You don’t need to be an expert. In fact, in some ways you are in a better position to help a friend or loved one who confesses this struggle to you. Why? You can better help because, under the current system, the problem is defined as a clinical matter, only properly addressed by experts, which experts are then forbidden from prescribing anything other than body modification. You can better help because you already have the truths in Christ’s teaching that can bring a deep freedom from gender dysphoria. And most of all, you can help because the first and most important step in healing this distress is providing a place of love where the right things are affirmed. And you already love your friend, your relative.
The first step is to welcome the weeping into your life. “Weep with those who weep” means accepting people as they are, a keystone of how Christians love. Be ready to walk with them. This means listening. This means being willing to expand your understanding by another’s pain. This means letting them muddy up your living room.
Of course, in accepting people as they are, we must never accept people to stay as they are. Jesus Christ’s gospel is one of transformation and sanctification. We should receive a visitor covered in mud warmly and willingly, even if it messes up our home. But it is not hospitable to withhold the shower available to him in our bathroom, to not even tell him about the heated floor experience he could have. You are able to do this.
You had better get the house of your heart ready ahead of time. Put in a new bathroom of hospitality in your attitude. Get ready to open your life. Because the prevalence of gender dysphoria will increase. As the roads of gender are broken up, people will get muddier and muddier. And you will soon see them on your doorstep.
But you are the one who can help.