THE HEALING JOURNEY
1. Turning from the false to the true
A Choice to make...
If at this point you have reached a place of recognising that Jesus did in fact die for your sins and you have never turned to him in faith to ask him to forgive you and to be the Lord and Saviour of your life you can do that right now. Unless you do take that step or have done so previously the rest of this section will be no more than a set of principles that will make no real impact on your life. The greatest healing that any of us can ever receive is to receive the gift of forgiveness and eternal life through welcoming Jesus into our life as our Lord and Saviour. As we do that our human spirit, deadened through sin is made alive by God’s Holy Spirit and we experience the miracle of being ‘born again’ into God’s family and knowing him as our Heavenly Father.
Today can be the first day of your healing journey
If you want to take the step of committing your life to God you could use the prayer below as a way of beginning a relationship with him and starting your personal journey of healing and restoration with him. As I have already said it is a serious decision to make with eternal consequences. Many have compared it to the vows taken between a man and woman when they get married. Knowing Jesus is to know him as God, as the absolute Lord of our lives, giving him the right to change anything in our lives that offends him or is not in line with what he wants for us. There is a cost in following him and his plan for our lives but I can promise you that his plan is always infinitely better than our own because he loves us more than we can comprehend and knows what is best and right for us. This decision is vital for each of us whether we struggle in the area of our sexuality and gender identity or in other areas of our lives – we all need God’s forgiveness. None of us know how long our lives will be or when they will end. I urge you to consider the claims of Jesus upon your life – there is no better time than now to respond to him.
Here is a prayer you could use to become a true child of God; a follower and friend of Jesus.
Lord Jesus, nothing I have tried or done has ever satisfied the deepest longing of my heart, just to be loved for who I am. I realise Lord Jesus that I have hurt you many times, yet you died on a cross, knowing the very worst about me so that I can be forgiven. Thank you for loving me that much. I believe you died for my sin and that you rose up from the grave and that today you want to change my life. I ask you to forgive all the wrong things that I have done. If I have hurt other people and can put things right with them, I will do that. With your help I will stop doing anything that hurts you. Lord Jesus, please come into my life right now and make me one of your children, please rescue me! I give you control of every part of my life including my sexuality and gender identity. Please teach me from your book, the Bible how to live for you. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit and heal my life. Thank you for hearing my prayer.
If you have sincerely prayed the prayer above I can tell you with the certainty of God’s word that you have become a child of God:
‘...although he made the world, the world didn’t recognize him when he came. Even in his own land and among his own people, the Jews, he was not accepted. Only a few would welcome and receive him. But to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God. All they needed to do was to trust him to save them. All those who believe this are reborn!—not a physical rebirth resulting from human passion or plan—but from the will of God.'
(John’s Gospel chapter 1 verses 10-13 The Living Bible)
I encourage you to seek genuine Christian friendship and to find a church where God’s word is believed and taught. Read the Bible and talk to God every day (that’s what prayer is) and you will increasingly experience him healing and changing your life – it’s an exciting adventure following Jesus!
Living a life of truth...
Turning to Jesus is turning from living in darkness to the one who described himself as the Light of the World (John’s Gospel chapter 8 verse 12). In John’s Gospel chapter 14 verse 6 he also described himself as ‘The Truth’. In a letter in the New Testament called the Letter of St Paul to the Romans (the Christians in Rome) the Apostle Paul wrote these words about the state of humanity when it refuses to acknowledge God as the Creator:
‘Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.’
(Romans 1 verses 24-25 English Standard Version)
If you read from verse 18 to the end of chapter 1 in Paul’s letter you will see that Paul speaks plainly about the effects on human sexuality when the truth of God as our Creator is rejected. Many would like to assign his words to the culture of his time but there is no justification for that claim. It is clear from the Bible that God’s original plan for the expression of human sexuality is between one man and one woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage. All of us have done what Paul described in these verses in living lives that denied or excluded God. As we turn back to him we reverse our position – instead of exchanging the truth for a lie we exchange the lie for the truth. That must include all that we have believed about our sexuality or gender that has been false. It means embracing who God says we are. In relation to our gender it means accepting our biological gender. I shared in my story how on the day I turned back to God on December 18th 1988 I threw away all the female clothing I had. If you are struggling with that same issue you will need to face the same decision as I did, a decision that’s not easy because it is letting go of what has been your very identity. I would say gently and lovingly to anyone reading this who has already undergone surgery or begun treatment to change their outward gender appearance that if you want to live as a true Christian disciple, I believe you need to be willing to revert to living as your biological birth gender with all the difficulty and readjustment that will involve. God will give you grace to do that because by doing so you will be choosing to live a life of truth – the truth of who he created you to be and who you were born to be, a choice that will open the door for him to pour his healing and restoration into your life.
Some thoughts for those who say ‘God made me like this’ or ‘This is just the way I am’...
There are many voices in the world today, many of which belong to scientists, saying that we are defined by our genes. They may say for example that there is a gene that results in our experiencing same-sex attraction or feeling that we should have been born as the opposite gender. In the next section we will look at possible roots of gender confusion but apart from the rare cases when a child is born with unclear physical gender characteristics most people who struggle with this issue are clearly physically male or female. From a Biblical viewpoint God has not made a mistake in their gender assignment. To those who cling to the view that somehow their gender confusion is caused by their genetic makeup I would ask how they would feel if someone they loved was murdered and the defence of the guilty person committing the crime was based on the statement that he or she had a ‘murder’ gene? Or how would a wife or husband abandoned by their marriage partner for another feel if the reason given for the unfaithfulness of their spouse was that they had an adultery gene? Those may seem extreme examples but actually our lives need to be held up against ultimate truth, of what God says, not against scientific arguments and theories that we can pick and choose from. Christians would not deny that humankind’s genetic makeup must have been affected when Adam and Eve turned away from God in the Garden of Eden but that doesn’t excuse any of us from our own sinful lifestyles which result from their fall. God did not create human beings to have a sliding spectrum of masculinity or femininity within themselves with no demarcation line. He has set boundaries between what it means to be male or female and says ‘Do not cross that line’. Transvestite or transsexual lifestyles offend and violate those boundaries – that’s why God describes them as detestable. I was faced with that truth the day I read the words from the Bible that stated that God hated the blurring of gender by a man dressing as a woman or a woman dressing as a man. The plumb line of God’s word showed up the crookedness and also the brokenness of my life. The good news is that Jesus came, not to condemn us in our sin and brokenness but to rescue us from it. He does that through the miracle of new birth that gives us a new heart and the desire to live a life pleasing to him by the power of his Holy Spirit.