How Christian Teachers Must Engage the Transgender Question (and other controversial issues) | Teach 4 the Heart

How Christian Teachers Must Engage the Transgender Question (and other controversial issues)

Being a Christian teacher can be pretty confusing at times, can’t it? I’ve seen your questions, read your emails.

What are we supposed to do if a gay student comes out to us? How are we supposed to react to this transgender restroom debate? How can I be true to my faith without crossing the lines of what’s appropriate in a secular school setting?

These are some tough questions.

Let’s face it – the issues facing us are not simple and they’re not easy. But as challenging as the circumstances of these days are, my biggest concern isn’t the circumstances themselves but how we as Christian teachers are responding to them.

We seem to be on such different pages, and many of us are struggling to understand exactly how to see these issues from a Biblical perspective.

I’m worried that we’re dropping the ball. Missing an opportunity. Failing to be the salt and light that God has placed us here to be.

Because, Christian teacher, whether you teach in a public or a private school, God has you exactly where you are for a reason. He has lives for you to touch, policy for you to influence.

christian teachers & transgender issue

We have to figure out the right response to these issues. As teachers, we are literally stewarding the next generation, and we owe it to them to get this right.

I am not claiming to have all the answers. I myself am still trying to sift through all the noise and figure out exactly how God would have us respond. But I strongly believe these actions will get us going in the right direction, and I pray that the conversation will only continue and strengthen from here.

So let’s dig in…

As Christian Teachers, We Must Engage Controversial Issues In This Way:   

  1. We must be known for our love.

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35

If we want to make a difference, we need to first be known as people who genuinely love others. Now we say this all the time when we talk about controversial issues, but what exactly that means is often left open to interpretation.

Some think that loving others means accepting their behavior even when we disagree. Others think it means being kind to everyone or not being rude. But what exactly does the Bible say love is? Let’s take a look….

“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” – I John 3:17

“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” – I John 3:18

If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” – James 2:15-16

Clearly, our love cannot be in word only but must be evidenced by our actions.

When a coworker’s husband is having surgery, we should be the one to bring over dinner for their family. When we notice the secretary could use a boost, we should be the one to drop off her favorite Frappuccino. When a student with a poor family life needs someone to step in, we should be the one they come to for help.

Now of course this isn’t easy, and I’m certainly not saying that we can (or should) do everything every time, but I ask you are you known for your love? I’m not sure that I am, but I want to be.

I want people to see God’s love shining through me. When they think of me, that’s what I want them to think of.

Imagine how powerful of a testimony that would be. Imagine the doors of opportunity it would open. Imagine how much more respected your opinions would be when you’ve built such a reputation and rapport.

So let’s first become people who are known for their genuine, active love.

Update: Since first writing this post I’ve realized that while love is most important (I Cor. 13:3), our witness is even more powerful when we evidence all the fruit of the spirit. Imagine if we were known not only for our active love but also for our patience, our joy, our peace in the midst of challenges, our self-control. Not only would that type of reputation open doors but that type of character would also ensure that we have the right demeanor and attitude as we walk through them.

So if we’re going to seek to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, we must remember that it is just that: the FRUIT (the result) of the Spirit. That means if we want the Spirit to produce His fruit in our lives, we must be close to Him, we must spend time with Him, we must rely on Him, and allow Him to work through us. For it is only through Him that we could ever evidence these qualities.

  1. Realize that what God has designed is best for everyone.

If we miss this truth, we miss the whole point. And I’m worried too many Christians are doing just that.

Think about God. He knows everything. He is perfectly good. He designed this world,  designed us.

If anyone knows the best way to live life, the best way to function as a society, don’t you think it’s God?

Why on earth do we think that we’re somehow smarter than Him? That we’ve somehow evolved past His moral law?

God didn’t give us His commands just for the fun of it. He gave them to us because He they are the best way to live – because they are the foundation to a stable and healthy society.

Think about it, He loves us desperately & wants what is best for us. He knows His commands are the path of life and blessing, so He ask us to follow them. He knows when we reject them or deviate from them, we set ourselves on a dangerous path that leads to sorrow and destruction. So He warns us strongly against the dangers.

You are good, and do good; Teach me Your statutes. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. – Psalm 119: 68, 98, 104, 160

Here is my biggest concern when I think about contemporary controversies like the homosexual and transgender movements: I am deeply concerned for the next generation of young people.

We (as a society) are teaching the next generation that it’s a great idea to be gay, that it’s wonderful to be lesbian. And now (even more dangerously) that it’s brave and admirable for them to change their gender.

But here’s the problem: It’s not true. It is not a great idea. It is not wonderful. And it is not admirable. The gay lifestyle leads to many problems, many sorrows, and many difficulties (see this article here for details).  And encouraging a young person to change their gender will not bring them the peace and happiness they are seeking. It is much more likely to bring them depression, despair, and regret (as demonstrated in this article here).

It’s simply a horrible message for the next generation. A destructive message – and one that’s going to hurt them, not help them.

That’s why we can’t just stand by and shrug off these changes, placating ourselves with statements like “we can’t expect unbelievers to live like believers.”

We cannot and should not expect everyone to believe what we believe or act the way we act, but we absolutely should be concerned about the state of our culture – about what our culture upholds as good and what it decries as evil.

And as teachers, we can and should be concerned about the culture we are shaping for the next generation. Will we go along with what’s expected, encouraging young people towards all kinds of behavior that is bad for them, bad for their families, and bad for our society in general?

Or will we stop and realize the truth – that God loves us, that He knows what He’s talking about, and that His ways truly are best for everyone – whether they know Him personally or not.

  1. Reject the viewpoint of a sacred / secular split.

Over the past few years I’ve received numerous comments and emails from Christian teachers arguing or asking about the role of faith in the public school system. Some argue that faith has no place in a public classroom, while others seek advice for how to incorporate their beliefs into their day-to-day work.

The same underlying questions come into place LGBT issues. Many Christian teachers are struggling to figure out how their faith should (or should not) impact these situations. In particular, how can we navigate these issues without getting in trouble & without violating our conscience.

But I’ve recently come to realize that there’s a big misconception underlying most of this – and that is the concept of a sacred / secular split. It looks something like this:

                                    Sacred (Faith) – Private

                                    _________________

                                         Secular – Public

In other words, many Christians essentially divide their lives and work into two parts. In one part is their faith – it’s very genuine. They love God, they read their Bible, maybe even teach Sunday school or lead a Bible club, and witness when they can. But their faith is for their private life – for their soul. It has little if anything to do with secular issues.

Thus they go to church and worship on Sunday but when speaking with a potentially transgender student on Monday, they don’t see that their faith has anything to do with the latter.

Or, even if they do think the Bible has something to offer, they don’t see it as their place to bring that view into the secular sphere.

But the Biblical view is exactly what the secular sphere needs.

Remember how we said God’s truths are good for everyone? That means there is no sacred / secular split. We might create one in our minds, but it doesn’t actually exist. We are thinking incorrectly.

God has created truths that are universal, that will help those who adhere to them, regardless of whether they are saved or not. His truths plow through all barriers and belong in the public sphere just as much as in the private sphere.

And if you’re thinking “but I’m not allowed to bring up God or the Bible,” you’re missing the best part – These truths are universal. That means they can be defended apart from the Bible. That you can argue His truths from a logical or scientific standpoint without mentioning God once.

We’ll get into specifics in a bit, but for now I just want you to ask yourself if you’ve started to compartmentalize your faith in this way. Do you value your faith on a personal level but bristle at the thought of applying Biblical truth to “secular” issues?

Do you embrace a “separate of church and state” viewpoint, thinking that your views can & should be set aside when you step in the classroom?

If so, it’s time to reject this sacred/secular split and embrace the joyous reality that God’s truths are meant for our whole lives & our whole society.

(For further discussion on this topic, I strongly recommend Nancy Pearcey’s book Total Truth.)

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.   – Matthew 5:13-16

  1. Think Biblically about the issue.

We’ve laid the groundwork for bringing Biblical truth into your public life, but in order to do that we need to understand exactly how God views the subject.

The Bible is the supreme source of truth, and in many cases it is crystal clear. Other times, however, the Bible doesn’t speak directly to an issue and we must apply Biblical truth and a Biblical view of our world to understand the truth of a topic.

For example, the Bible is crystal clear about homosexuality (Romans 1:26-28), but it makes no direct reference to transgender, possibly because were no gender reassignment surgeries in Bible days.

Does that mean that the Bible is silent on the issue? By no means. Instead, we must examine the Scripture as a whole, look at God’s view of gender, and consider this issue from a Biblical worldview – looking through the lens of Scripture. In particular through 3 core events: Creation, the Fall, and Redemption.

It is not the intention of this article to discuss the transgender issue itself in great detail, but I do believe it would be helpful to give an example of what Biblical thinking would look like…. Here are some key points, as borrowed & adapted from this helpful article here which seemed to arrange my jumbled thoughts so concisely.

 *God created us & our gender.  God created and designed gender as an important part of Creation & an important part of our identity. Our gender is a part of God’s plan & cannot be changed.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. – Genesis 1:27

Furthermore, God designed each of us in His image, which gives each human being inherent worth. When someone struggles with their self-image, that is because they have not fundamentally internalized this concept – that God Created them, that He designed them, that He loves them, & that He created them for a purpose.

*Satan is the cause of gender confusion. When man sinned, the fall created all sorts of problems. Gender confusion is a very real problem, but it does not come from God having made a mistake. It comes from Satan, who desires to bring confusion & destroy lives.  He is a liar and is doing everything He can to deceive those who are struggling with the gender identity God has given them.

He [the devil] is a liar and the father of it. John 8:44b 

*Sex surgery does not solve the problem. The gender confusion that Satan brings into people’s lives is not solved by a gender reassignment surgery. The confusion often continues, bringing more despair and regret. Walt Heyer, who underwent and then deeply regretted a sex change, chronicles a growing body of research &  the true stories of regret on his website sexchangeregret.com, demonstrating the truth that sex reassignment does not solve the deep underlying problem for those struggling with gender identity.

*Christ is the answer & offers healing. For those who are struggling with their identity, Christ offers hope & healing. In contrast to the failed efforts of sex surgeries, Christ has the power to completely heal and restore. To love unconditionally, shine truth on the lies, and bring the peace that comes from knowing who you truly are in Him.

This is a Biblical view of the issue. This is what Christ offers, and it’s much more powerful than trying to be “tolerant” while ignoring and refusing to help kids with the deep struggles they are facing

[Here’s another article that does a good job addressing the transgender issue from a Biblical perspective.]

  1. Pray for wisdom and be led by His Spirit.

So we know the truth, and we want to bring it into the world, into our classrooms. How on earth do we do that?

The most important thing is to be led by God’s Spirit. If we strike out on our own, we’re destined to get ourselves in trouble and possibly even do more harm than good.  But when we are close to God, listening & following the leading of His Spirit, we can speak & work on His agenda, not our own.

This step simply cannot be skipped. It is vital. It is the key. We absolutely need Him.

 

  1. Use the influence God has given us to be a voice for truth

If God’s truth is what’s best for everyone – us, our students, their families, and society at large, then we need to spread those truths within our sphere of influence.

That’s going to look different in every profession, but we teachers have a powerful opportunity to make a difference. We each have a huge influence in our own classrooms and many also have additional influence to help shape school policy.

So let’s get specific. What does this look like for a teacher day to day? Well, it depends where you teach…

If you teach in a Christian school, then you must not only teach the truth but also teach your students this process – how to love others, how to think about these issues from a Biblical worldview, how to pray and seek God’s leading, and how to speak wisely when given an opportunity.

For those in public schools, your task is challenging but vital. You will need to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves (reference) as you speak

**No one is saying to go up to someone that’s transgender or gay & start telling them they’re wrong. Just as you wouldn’t go up to a family member that’s living with their boyfriend & tell them they’re wrong. It’s simply not our place. However, if someone were to come up to us and ask our advice or help, then we have the responsibility to speak the truth in love – the truth that will actually help them, not the platitudes they want to hear but will lead to sorrow.**

Remember that we are shaping the culture and the views of the next generation, especially as teachers. It is our job to give them a TRUE view of the world, not just the view that seems popular at the time. We must share the truths that will bring them life, peace, and joy, not the dangerous lies that many in our society want them to believe. So weave the truth into your lessons, your discussions, your comments. And remember – you don’t have to mention God or the Bible to logically share them. They stand on their own.

If you find yourself on a board that’s discussing your school policy, don’t shrink from the opportunity. Kindly, boldly, logically, and wisely argue for God’s truth. And use the influence He has given you to be a light in your world.

Please don’t hide your light under a bushel, scared what people might say, thinking your beliefs have no merit here. Your school, your classroom, your students desperately need your light.

If you shine your light and I shine mine, and we all throw out our bushels, maybe we can become a bright beacon that God will use to shine His truth once again into our culture.

  1. Be ready to pay a price.

I’m afraid we too often make our decisions based on what might happen. If I say something, a parent might complain, my principal might call me out, or I may even lose my job.

These may be real concerns, but I’m wondering if maybe we need to get over them.

Maybe we need to be willing to be criticized, not afraid to be reprimanded.

Maybe we should be willing to lose our job if it really came down to it – if we knew God was leading and we followed Him and “the worst” happened.

Maybe we’ve been way too weak and it’s time to get a backbone.

I think of the early Christians who suffered so much for their faith. They were beaten. They were robbed. They literally died for Christ.

What are we willing to give up? What are we willing to suffer? And lest we think we aren’t called to suffering, we might need to take another look at Scriptures like this one:

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. – I Peter 4:12-16

Now please understand, I’m not telling you to go do something that you absolutely aren’t allowed to do & that will certainly get you fired. But I am saying that we can’t be led by fear.

If you know what you need to say, what would truly be helpful and right in the situation, and you know God is leading you go say it, will you let fear keep you from following Him?

I’m honestly not sure what I’d do, but I hope I’d follow God’s leading. I hope I wouldn’t cower.

And I hope I would argue kindly and logically for the truth and its place in our culture and society.

I understand the fear, believe me. I’m really nervous to hit “Publish” and send this article out into the world. I’m fully aware it could cause problems for me, for my family, for Teach 4 the Heart. I’ve wondered many times if I should just “save it for later.” But sharing the truth is what God has called us to, and this is my platform.

So I’ll share and pray God will use my words. Pray that they will be taken in the Spirit that they are intended. Pray that they will motivate others to be more like Christ in their attitudes, to respond as He would in their conversations. Pray that His truths will plant themselves deep in the hearts of His people and bring forth much fruit in the years to come.

And if the cost comes …. so be it.

I’m lovingly sharing the truths God has given in my sphere of influence.

Will you do the same in yours?

Update: Thank you to all of you who have responded publicly or privately. In considering the various dissenting responses, I’ve found two common thoughts I’d like to briefly address.

  1. The biggest disagreements stem from the view that people are born gay or transgender – that that is inherently who they are – their identity.

If you aren’t a Christian I can see why you hold this view, but Christians should know better. People are not born gay or transgender (aside from real birth defects which are a separate issue and not at all what we are discussing here). They may struggle with those tendencies but that is not who they are anymore than someone who is born with a tendency towards alcoholism or anger or deceit or fear is destined to always be ruled by them.

If you believe that being gay or transgender is inherent to a person’s identity, let’s follow that thought through to its logical conclusion: That means that God designs and creates people contrary to His best plan, contrary His best design, and contrary to His commands. 

The opposing view is much more consistent and logical in relation to Scripture. That God designed each of us according to His best plan – some to marriage, some to singleness, but each in accordance with His design for marriage and sexuality. However, sin and Satan deceive us and bring confusion; they try to keep us from realizing our true identity. But God’s way is still best (He designed us after all), and true freedom and peace is available to all in Christ.

And from a logical perspective, I suggest you check out some of the compelling stories at sexchangeregret.com.

2. Another common disagreement is the statement that Jesus would love and not judge. 

Now of course He would love & so should we (I hope I’ve made that abundantly clear). But as for judging, we really need to understand exactly what this means. I wrote a whole article about this so I won’t repeat it here. You can check it out: “What Does ‘Judge Not’ Really Mean?”

But as a crystal example of how Jesus WOULD respond, let’s examine the woman that was caught in adultery. Jesus’ response was, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more” (John 8:11) Do you see both parts? He does not condemn her, as in sentence her to judgment. But neither does He leave her to continue in her previous actions. He tells her to stop what she’s been doing & sin no more. 

So if you’re asking WWJD, there’s your answer….And while we’re not called to go up to people uninvited & intrude on their lives, this is the response we’d want to model when people do come to us for advice. Don’t condemn (sentence to judgment), but DO encourage them into what is best for their life.

Linda Kardamis

I believe that when God calls us to teach, He promises the strength & wisdom to do it well. All we need to do is keep learning, growing, and depending on Him. I'm here to provide practical advice and Biblical encouragement so you'll have the confidence and perspective to not only inspire your students but reach their hearts as well.

  • Kristin says:

    Super thankful for this post! As a public school teacher, I am constantly wrestling with these issues and what my Christ-like response should be. Your post reminded me of some timeless truths and I really appreciate your willingness to do so. 🙂

  • I’m not really sure what other interpretations there might be on this subject when it comes to Christianity. At least from an orthodox Christian perspective.

    Just because you share your view with a student doesn’t mean you are being a moral authority over them. That’s like saying that they don’t have a will to think for themselves. Just because you present information does not mean you’re shoving it down thier throat. They can choose what to do with the information.

    I think that as a Christian teacher it is okay to be open about biblical principles. Maybe not always by quoting scripture per say but through other means. If transgenders can state thiers why can’t we?

  • I’m not really sure what other interpretations there might be on this subject when it comes to Christianity. At least from an orthodox Christian perspective.

    Just because you share your view with a student doesn’t mean you are being a moral authority over them. That’s like saying that they don’t have a will to think for themselves. Just because you present information does not mean you’re shoving it down thier throat. They can choose what to do with the information.

    I think that as a Christian teacher it is okay to be open about biblical principles. Maybe not always by quoting scripture per say but through other means. If transgenders can state thiers why can’t we?

  • I’m not really sure what other interpretations there might be on this subject when it comes to Christianity. At least from an orthodox Christian perspective.

    Just because you share your view with a student doesn’t mean you are being a moral authority over them. That’s like saying that they don’t have a will to think for themselves. Just because you present information does not mean you’re shoving it down thier throat. They can choose what to do with the information.

    I think that as a Christian teacher it is okay to be open about biblical principles. Maybe not always by quoting scripture per say but through other means. If transgenders can state thiers why can’t we?

    • Megan Patrick says:

      Well, the answer to your question is pretty simple- separation of church and state. The law.

      As for your statement that we aren’t being a moral authority over kids by expressing our opinion, ohhh yes we are! Our students are young and impressionable- for many of them, we are the only stable relationships they have. If we tell them that they, at their core, are fundamentally wrong, then we’ve done irreparable psychological damage.

      • If we as Christians believe the Bible is true then that changes everything. And it will affect the way we view these matters. You say we’d be saying someone is fundamentally wrong at their core. That’s not quite right. Here’s the whole truth as seen through creation, the fall, and redemption: God made you, He loves you, He created you with worth and a plan and a purpose. However you are confused about His plan and who you are. His plan is always best even if it’s not the easiest path. Christ loved you enough to die for you and can help you see yourself the way He sees you, drive away your confusion.

        Of course I know you can’t say that outright to a student but it’s the truth that we must keep in mind and that truth should guide the things that we do say.

        • Megan F Patrick says:

          Who are you to decide that you know God’s plan for these kids?

          • Megan, I’m not quite sure what you’re implying. I would never pretend to know God’s will for someone in every area, but God’s Word does make clear His will in certain areas of our lives. We must always go back to His Word to know how He thinks and what He has designed.

      • Anonymous says:

        And if they are fundamentally wrong and we don’t say anything we’ve done Eternal damage.

  • I’m not really sure what other interpretations there might be on this subject when it comes to Christianity. At least from an orthodox Christian perspective.

    Just because you share your view with a student doesn’t mean you are being a moral authority over them. That’s like saying that they don’t have a will to think for themselves. Just because you present information does not mean you’re shoving it down thier throat. They can choose what to do with the information.

    I think that as a Christian teacher it is okay to be open about biblical principles. Maybe not always by quoting scripture per say but through other means. If transgenders can state thiers why can’t we?

  • Ashley says:

    Really excellent article. Thank you for your courage to tackle this topic. I think one thing else that needs to be said is that a boy wearing a dress in your class, or a woman coworker who is dating another woman, SHOULD RECEIVE EXACTLY THE SAME AMOUNT OF RESPECT, CARE, AND ATTENTION that anyone else does. This doesn’t imply approval– but the opposite. It shows that we treat all people (all sin) with respect and love, and that we don’t treat some sins different than other sins. How can we treat a murderer with love if we can’t treat a confused boy in a dress with kindness? And, with a foundation of love and kindness we can confidently speak the truth. My neighbors are lesbians– one went to the hospital in an ambulance, so I brought them dinner, flowers, and a card. Just like you can defend truth without mentioning the bible, you can demonstrate God’s love in action… and then, when they are surprised and become curious about the abundant love coming from Christians, they will want to know about the bible too.

      • Cynthia Weir says:

        I heard about a real situation where a teacher was instructed to address transgender students by their ‘chosen’ identity–pronoun, name, etc. This teacher struggled how to respond, and was given an ultimatum to address the students how they wanted to be addressed, or resign with pay over the summer, or be fired. So, is a teacher to go along with this p.c. ‘kindness?’ Or start looking for another job?

        • Anonymous says:

          We have a 2nd grader who is “transitioning” in our school as well. We were told we can still call him (“her”) by the nickname they used last year (which could be used for a male or female) so I will be doing that. I will also be trying NOT to use male/female references in that particular class. Where I am more concerned is the bathroom issue. If my own child went to the same school and was a of the opposite gender I would be concerned. Why is it that these families get to put everyone else in an awkward situation because of how this one child “feels” about who God designed them to be? It’s really not fair to the majority. It is like if I told the entire school that my son prefers to wear a B.B. gun to school. If he can do it, what message does that send to other kids? That it’s ok for them to do it too? (ie. other boys going in the girls bathroom)… I don’t agree with it at all and as a Christian teacher it really puts us in a strange position. We need to protect others from mental and physical injury. I feel bad for this boy who thinks he’s a girl now. I feel bad that his parents think it’s just the best thing ever! And,unlike the man who did the gender surgery, I hope they encourage this boy to see who he truly is in God’s eyes before it gets that far. Poor kiddo.

  • Taylor Hurt says:

    Great article! Thank you!

  • Juli Witt says:

    Linda,

    Thank you for so boldly sharing the Truth in such a loving way. I appreciate how you focused on the fact of loving others enough to want what is best for them.

    It encouraged me to continue to seek the Holy Spirit daily to direct me in how to love, speak, and act in a way that glorifies Him; regardless of the consequences.

  • Carrie Newman says:

    Thank you for taking a risk and putting your heart on the line. I commend you for exercising your freedom of speech. Everyone of us, no matter our calling or chosen profession, believer or unbeliever, will stand before God one day, and we will be held accountable for the things we have done or not done. I am much more concerned about pleasing God/doing what’s right in His eyes (which is being a teacher) than I am of the opinions of men or women.

  • Dawn Hancock says:

    You are courageous to write and share this article. I appreciate that each point you’ve made is fully backed by the word of God, and you began with love as the first response. There is wisdom that needs to be heard in this piece.
    I struggle with parents more than students because I am a kindergarten teacher. I’ve worked with gay parents, teenage siblings who are choosing to identify with the transgender trend and confusing my students along the way, and perhaps one day I may work with a student who is challenged by these issues. To this time, I haven’t been as brave as you have with this article. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve skirted the issues as much as possible because I did not know how to respond.
    You made a point that I’ve never thought about before- the sacred/secular split. I will give it consideration. It is difficult to consistently practice my beliefs in a way that will please God. Constant improvement is my goal. I do not have the energy to live a double life and haven’t thought that others might be trying that. I will give the idea some time to marinate.
    Finally, I found the last concept that you made the most powerful. I think as Christians we often feel that God will not let anything bad happen to us. Then when it does our faith can be shaken. As you pointed out biblically, there is a price that comes with sticking with our faith. We need to be reminded often that we are honored to suffer for Christ, even in a small way, after what He did for us.
    Thank you for raising a conversation on this tricky topic. I look forward to reading what others have to say.

  • Esther says:

    I just say Amen cause you stood for the right Christian Principles and more so as A Child Of The Most High God

  • Anonymous says:

    Good emphasis on love, but I disagree with the headline on this article that states this is what we “must” do as Christian educators. Many Christian teachers do not interpret these issues as “wrong” as you obviously do, for one thing. For another, many Christian teachers recognize that it is not their place to judge other people’s behavior. Perhaps you are confusing your position with a pastor or priest. Would you also give religious advice to students on other issues such as drug use or depression, even if they were a faithful Muslim or Buddhist? Did God really call you to preach in a public institution?
    If the separation of church and state is not enough to keep you from sharing your beliefs with others in a public school, then I hope you will very carefully consider the harm you are doing on a student who comes to you for support just to have you deny who they are. You are automatically at an advantage as a teacher, an assumed authority, when it comes to sharing your opinions. It is not your place in a public school to promote your religious agenda.

    • In response I’m going to share some other articles I’ve written that address some of these questions. For the concept of not judging: https://teach4theheart.com/2014/03/20/what-does-judge-not-really-mean/ For the statement about “separation of church and state” (which is not actually what you think it is): https://teach4theheart.com/2014/07/03/life-liberty-and-censorship/

      For your other questions and concerns, please reread the article as I address each of them carefully. Thanks.

      • Natalie says:

        Strange…I replied to this reply, but it doesn’t seem to have posted. Perhaps there is a delay. Though I do not recall all the details I wrote, I would just like to caution you and your readers of one thing. As public school teachers, you do not get to interpret the Constitution for yourselves. The courts have already done that for you. In fact, when it comes to your free speech in a public school, I’d say the separation of church and state is not actually what YOU think it is. It comes down to a three-part test which you could Google or call your lawyer about, called the Lemon Test. One of the aspects looks closely at your motive in sharing your speech, so before deciding for yourselves what you believe the original intent of the framers of the Constitution was and basing your responses in that, you may want to get some legal counsel first. I realize this web site is your forum to speak for God, but a public school classroom is certainly NOT. Thank you.

        • Hi Natalie,
          I think you misunderstand my intentions. The law of the land is indeed the law and there are certain things we are not allowed to say in public schools. I am not arguing that at all. It is simple fact.

          But there is a separate question. Not IS it the law but SHOULD it be the law? And according to those who wrote the First Amendment & the original intention of the Constitution, the law as given by the courts is 100% wrong.

          You may think this doesn’t matter because the law is the law. But it does because when someone says “church and state are separate and so your faith should have no place in school” this goes way beyond what the law says and takes it much further. For example, the law says you cannot stand up and preach the Gospel in class. No one is arguing this fact or saying that you should. But what about when a student privately asks you for advice? If you believe that you SHOULDN’T share your true beliefs, then you won’t. But if you realize that the term “separation of church and state” actually means that the government should stay out of the church NOT that the church should stay out of the public sphere, you will be emboldened to share the truth as long as you can do so in a way that is still legal.

          Hope this makes sense. I know it’s a bit confusing.

          • Anonymous says:

            I do understand your point of view, and I understand the biblical verses it comes from. I do not even really consider the “separation of church and state” as a phrase when I decide what I can and cannot say, and neither do the courts. That is a colloquialism. But the teachers who work in a public school have to be more careful and adhere to legal standards of the precedents of the courts, not rely on their own understanding, just like the bible says about scripture. Just giving everyone a heads-up, there are very clear legal criteria that must be followed, EVEN IN PERSONAL INTERACTIONS, not just curriculum, so like you said, be ready to lose if you are ready to share. Thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally disagree with you. And if teachers, who are also TRUE Christians don’t see anything wrong with these issues, than they don’t know what God’s words says, nor do they put HIS authority above social norms.

  • Tammy Bellinger says:

    Thank you for this post. It is very encouraging. I really appreciate the thought of praying for the Lord to develop the fruits of the Spirit in my teaching life. You are also so right that I tend to compartmentalize my life. This is for church or home and this is for school. One definitely impacts the other. Over the years, I have been more and more outspoken about my faith with my children. If they ask, I answer. If the Lord provides an opportunity, I share. This transgender issue is definitely a problem. We must be praying for our society. It is falling apart without Christ.

  • Natalie says:

    If you cannot be neutral then you need to reconsider working in a public school. A teacher has no right to be a moral authority over a student in a public school when that teacher’s morals are quoting their faith doctrine. The author of this article has chosen to act based on a specific interpretation to that faith doctrine, which many other “Christian” teachers would interpret differently. So, if a student comes out to you and you already have an opinion against it, you have no right in your position as a public school teacher to say so. It is unlikely to happen, though, because most students know their Christian teachers’ agendas and would never feel safe confiding in someone they know is going to judge them and deny their identity. Yes, it could happen. Just unlikely.

  • Michelle says:

    Thank you for your courage to speak out on a topic that has been jumbled in my mind for some time now. It helped put things in prospective and remind me of God’s truths. I’m a new public school teacher this year. After several years as a Christian school teacher I’m a bit nervous about “slipping up” and saying “God” or “in the Bible…”, however I do not want to compartmentalize my faith. I will walk with the Lord and share His universal truths as He leads.

  • Carma Carpenter says:

    Beautifully put! Thank you for your courage!

  • Katherine Jones says:

    You have stated the truth in a beautiful , sensitive way. Thank you. Christians are entering the time of persecution in this country. It is time to take a stand. It is not going to be easy. But I agree–show love, and share when the opportunity comes. Those in the public schools will need to be vigilant to think carefully how they will address these opportunities before they happen. Pray and seek God’s wisdom. He will be faithful.

  • Katie says:

    Thank you so much for your article. I am a Kindergarten teacher that has taught in a Christian school for 10 years. I have recently moved and while be teaching in a public school kindergarten for the first time. I have been very concerned how I would handle the difference. Your thoughts are a great help to me. Please don’t stop speaking out.

  • Janet says:

    There’s a huge issue that I think is missing from this article, and that’s the role that society plays in the development of gender identity and sexual development. It doesn’t take a genius to see the way that society applies meaningless gender distinctions to otherwise arbitrary things–just look at the onslaught of pink marketed to girls or the rough-and-tumble tough-it-out culture shoved down the throats of little boys and you can see how children are pushed toward one or the other before they even understand what that means. You say that Satan is the cause of gender confusion, but I don’t agree–rather, I think Satan is the cause of a culture that can’t seem to function without compartmentalizing the world into the categories “for boys” and “for girls.” Even if we assume that gender dysphoria is a spiritual problem (which I don’t believe, by the way), the cause is not evil within the self but rather evil perpetuated by a society that cares more about status quo than about individuality and uniqueness in God’s image. As Christian teachers, it’s also our responsibility to avoid subconsciously pushing these gender stereotypes onto our students in order to allow them to grow into truly unique people in God’s image.

    Another point: You claim that society encourages homosexuality and transgender living. This is false. Society is encouraging young people not to be afraid of those things and to embrace and love themselves if they think they might be gay or are dissatisfied with their birth sex. While some people have been dissatisfied with their sex changes, many others are happier for having done it, not to mention that such issues as promiscuity, STD occurrences, and dysfunctional relationships arise in hetero (and sometimes even Christian) couples.

    Having said this, I’m grateful that you made a point of demonstrating with Scripture the response Christians should have toward these people, and any others as well. Too many people get swept into the tradition of condemning people who are different or who hold conflicting beliefs, which , by the way, is also of the devil and something the Bible explicitly condemns (in either 1or 2 Peter; I’m unsure which).

    If my reply sounds overly negative, I want you to realize that I’m not trying to be argumentative or disrespectful, nor am I trying to find fault with your viewpoint. I just see so many people who twist the Bible around to justify oppression, and as someone who is both a Christian and a supporter of LGBT and other rights, I feel that it’s my responsibility to God and to these people to keep dialogue like this open.

    • Natalie says:

      Thank you for sharing another point of view in a sensitive, nonjudgmental manner. Shows how one edicator’s view does not speak for all Christians.

    • Cynthia Weir says:

      It isn’t necessarily society that’s encouraging gay and transgender lifestyles. It’s the LGBT community themselves who are seeking to criminalize the Christian viewpoint, and make it unlawful for a Christian, pastor, or anyone to say anything other than something favoring the gay, transgender -sex change path. They are extending this big infomercial to all our young people–that this is the only way you can truly find sexual fulfillment, is to totally abandon all Judeo-Christian restraints on sexual behavior. And no, God does not condone homosexuality–it is an abomination to Him. Or homosexual marriage, much less rejecting the gender God created a person to be in a futile attempt to become what you can’t become.

  • Nurat says:

    I am a staunch Muslim and I can’t help reading your blog all the time. You really SPEAK FROM THE HEART. And most of the problems you face as a ‘person of faith’, I can easily relate to as I probably even struggle more in this age of ‘Islamophobia’. Anyway, I want you to keep on being BRAVE, HONEST and SINCERE. Some people will MOCK you, HATE you but it’s only because their small spirits can’t comprehend your massive spirit.

    Stay strong and keep on rocking!!!

  • Audrey says:

    Thank you for this article it has made me look at whether I compartmentalise my life. Thank you for making the point that we must love but not condone sin. We are not sitting in judgement but realise that we are sinners saved by grace. There is nothing more holy or special about us but that we have realised what a mess we were making on our own and reached out to our saviour, Jesus, to help us. I feel that a lot of our insecurities stem from us not recognising our identity in Christ. Thank you for your insightful, challenging and encouraging posts.

  • Nina Brown says:

    THANK YOU! I love your devotion and loving attitude. You hit the nail on the head with the Biblical truths. Thank you for the support and encouragement within your article.

  • Joanne says:

    Although I have found many of your articles to be informative and useful, I am distressed by the beliefs expressed in this one and have just unsubscribed from future messages as a result. I’ m not going to argue religious points with you, you have obviously picked out the bits which best serve your perspective, but I am going to leave you with one thought…Homosexual and transgender students are not an “issue”, they are kids who need empathy and real advice to live in this world, not a patronising world view in which they are helped away from their choices. I hope none of my students ever need help from you or any of those who have agreed so happily with your perspective.

    • I don’t believe at all that these students are issues. I mean that they are facing difficult issues and of course need vast love and empathy. And while I know the Biblical view is not popular, it is the one truth that can truly bring lasting peace.

      • Stephanie says:

        As a public school teacher with a transgender student I can tell you that they are by no means an “issue” and what they are facing is not difficult unless our society creates a difficult community for them to live in. Their choice is pretty self-explanatory even at the age of 10. They know who they are and their feelings are real and true. I would never think of judging them. What a shame that it is considered “wrong” or as one reader put it “The transgender issue is definitely a problem.” For whom? because it is definitely not a problem for me nor is it a problem for my transgender student.

        • I certainly am not saying that the students are an issue but that they are facing a difficult issue.

          To say that it is not a problem is to ignore the very difficult reality these children and teens are facing. To feel you are one gender but be in the body of the other gender must be very difficult indeed. Even if they are “accepted” as the other gender, they can never full be so – and that presents many challenges.

          In essence, their minds and their bodies disagree. So the choice is either to try to change the body to fit the mind, change the mind to fit the body, or somehow try to live with the differences. My suggestion (based on Scripture) is that since there is no way to actually change the body into the other gender, it is worth pursuing the possibility of working with the mind to accept the gender of the body. Then and only then can everything be in full agreement.

          I am certainly no expert in this area, but my main concern is that by “accepting these students as they are” we are actually not helping them at all but perpetuating them on a course that is going to be very difficult for them to navigate.

  • Elizabeth Oliver says:

    While I do not necessarily agree with your interpretations of the Bible and Christianity, I do agree with the concept of treating with kindness and respect and not just as it pertains to these issues of sexuality but with regard to religion as well. I teach in a very diverse school – racially and economically as well as with regard to religious beliefs. In a secular school, we do not have the right to interfere with or even influence a student’s religious beliefs as that is the right of the parents. All of the religions represented by my students – Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Bhuddism, Hinduism – preach some version of the Golden Rule along with tolerance, respect, and peace. It is my hope that as we try to promote these virtues in our classrooms our students will follow and carry these ideals into a world that desperately needs these lessons!

  • Shelby says:

    Thank you for the article. I teach public middle school in a very rural area. Toward the end of the year, I did have a make student claim to be gay, at the age of 12 I’m not convinced they even have enough life/relationship experience to make that proclamation. He drew a cross on the paper with a banner that said gay love. I quietly brought him aside and said that he would not want to made fun of for telling everyone that he was gay and I explained that as a Christian I understood his need to feel loved but to see that on the cross was offensive to me. He said ok and nothing came of it. He made this announcement out loud in another class. I told him since that had nothing to do with math, we would not be addressing that out loud in my class.
    I would like to say that another way that I bring God into my classroom is with a 9/11 tribute. There is a song on YouTube that is to be the voice of God and now He is was with so many different people and how he would be there in the end and it asks if you are ready. It never says God directly but it’s heavily implied. It certainly plants a seed in their minds. I’m fortunate to live in the Bible belt and so far nothing has been said. All they can do is tell me to stop.

  • I’m not really sure what other interpretations there might be on this subject when it comes to Christianity. At least from an orthodox Christian perspective.

    Just because you share your view with a student doesn’t mean you are being a moral authority over them. That’s like saying that they don’t have a will to think for themselves. Just because you present information does not mean you’re shoving it down thier throat. They can choose what to do with the information.

    I think that as a Christian teacher it is okay to be open about biblical principles. Maybe not always by quoting scripture per say but through other means. If transgenders can state thiers why can’t we?

  • Trudy Winslow says:

    I am struggling with how to respond. In my heart, in my soul and in my mind, I know I must not judge. I need to offer love, support and guidance to appropriate resources. Not being gay or transgender, I can not put myself in their place or their families, I do not know thier struggle….I can and will continue to show nonjudgmental love.

  • Tatina says:

    Praise God! I had a wonderful student who I was really close to that is gender confused. She has reached out to me on her own because I have shown her love. I never condemn her for her choices, but she knows I am not pleased with any sexual choices she makes at 15. Sin is sin. Even when I have shown disappoint with her, she continues to seek me. I know this is all God. He wants her in His kingdom, yet so does Satan. Please pray she continues to reach out to me as she’s moved on to high school.

  • Katherine Garrison says:

    Linda,
    I have taken time to ponder over your article and my response. I appreciate your willingness to take on such a hard topic.
    1. We must be known for our love.
    I agree with everything you have said in this section. We will get nowhere in helping people if they don’t feel that we love them, that we respect them, and that the love we have is unconditional. As a public school teacher I have been given the gift of helping hurting children know they are loved by my actions, my encouragement, my respect. More than anything else, I want to be able to love unconditionally. Still working on that.
    2. Realize that what God designed is best for everyone.
    I agree with how you started this section. God has a perfect plan for all of His creation. His way leads to life. I totally agree.
    I disagree when you say we are teaching that it is great to be gay or that it is brave to change their gender. What I believe is happening is that we are saying people have the right to choose for themselves. Given the violence and disrespect given to people who are gay or transgendered I am not seeing it as a choice most would make lightly.
    I am not going to get into the debate on being gay is a choice or a part of who a person is. There is much evidence on both sides and I don’t think it matters. The decision to act on these feelings is up to the person.
    3. Reject the viewpoint of a sacred/secular split.
    I would disagree. America is built on the notion of individual rights and freedoms. Religious views/truths have no place in the public sector. Because whose views would hold sway? Southern Baptist? Jehovah’s Witnesses? Evangelical? Methodist? Mennonites? Catholics? Muslims? Jewish? Buddhism? Atheism? Brethren? Quakers? Lutheran? Mormons? Native American? We have in this country incredible freedom to worship as we will…or not to worship at all. It is what makes us American.

    We all model our religious views every day. That is because our beliefs are who we are at the heart of being human. So our beliefs do influence how we react to different topics in a debate before laws are created and this is right. These debates allow for all sides to be heard, to be respected, for God’s truth to be spoken and finally for the decision to be made that all people will follow. As I would not want to live under Muslim restrictions I cannot ask a homosexual person to live under my Christian belief. I believe the split is there to protect the rights of all.

    I also believe God is in agreement with the split. He gives us the privilege of self-choice. He didn’t have to. He could have created all of this without us being able to choose to reject it but He didn’t. He loves us so much; He will let us work out for ourselves which way we want to go.

    4. Think Biblically about the issue.
    Deuteronomy 30:19-20 – I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before your life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
    Revelation 3:20 – Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
    Joshua 24:15 – And if it seems evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
    We are given the choice to follow or not. It is up to each of us individually. We work out our salvation individually with God through Jesus. It is between me and Him.
    We love sinners by showing them respect (1 Peter 2:17), and praying for them (1 Timothy 2:1). It is a true act of love to treat someone with respect and kindness even though you do not approve of his or her lifestyle or sinful choices.
    5. Pray for wisdom and be led by His Spirit
    Total agreement.

    6. Use the influence God has given us to be a voice for truth.
    I agree if I am asked what my view is on the transgender, homosexual issue is I need to be honest. However, I am representing the school board that hired me. I also need to respect their limits on what I say in the classroom. I am not my own person. So, if asked, I would speak to the student/parent privately. My day-to-day modeling of God will speak louder than any words I may say.
    So what is my honest thought? I would encourage any student to talk with their family. God put them with those parents and not with me for a reason. By my actions I can show love but as a public school teacher, it is not my place to verbally witness. I would explain to any adult I feel homosexuality is a hard place to be. If they want to stop acting on their homosexual desires I would encourage them to talk to a pastor of a church that I respect. I am not a counselor. That is not my gift. I am a teacher and I can point out resources that I believe may help that adult. I would do the same for any adult who has a drinking, drug, abuse, stealing problem. I can be a first responder, I can offer to pray, but I have to let them make their own choice.

    Respectfully,
    Katherine Garrison

    • Thank you for offering such a thought-out response. I would just make a few clarifying comments…

      I think you’re misunderstanding the concept of the public/private split. Our Founders were rightly concerned about a State-imposed religion, which would’ve certainly been a horrible thing. They were also concerned the government would start taking away religious liberty. So they built a strong wall to keep government out of the church and to keep the government from establishing a state church. That was wise and good & I 100% am glad they did that.

      However, that is totally different than saying religion has no place in the public sphere. Our Founders certainly didnt’ believe that. Just a quick trip to D.C. reveals that they chiseled His words on every buiding they could. Our founding documents are filled with references to Scripture & the Founders specifically intended that the Bible be taught in public schools. Of course a lot of that has changed now, but the result is that we Christians are confused about what place our views have in society. We certainly are not called to force our views on anyone, but we ARE called to share truth & be salt and light to a world that needs us to.

      This doesn’t take away anyone’s choices. On the contrary, it helps them make a more informed choice. And that’s what I’m arguing for. I’m gravely concerned that this next generation is going to grow up only hearing one point of view – that if they think they’re the wrong gender they must be & they should do something about it. But they desperately deserve to hear the other viewpoint as well – that their gender is not a mistake. That they were lovingly designed just the way they are & that when they embrace who they are as a Creation of God they can make peace with how He designed them.

      They desperately need to hear that other view as they contemplate such important life choices at such a young and impressionable age.

  • Chris says:

    Thank you for this balanced and respectful article, Linda. Your Scriptural excerpts were exactly to the point.

  • Kathy mackintosh says:

    Just “stumbled ” on this website/blog and am grateful I was led here. There is such confusion around this topic and after watching Caitlyn Jenner interview 4/21/17 I believe our communities MUST keep dialogue going . We must seek how Christ wants his followers to deal with this issue.

  • anonymous says:

    I’m a school psychologist who will likely be providing individual counseling support to transgender middle-schoolers (as there has been a huge influx this year of kids with this issue). I am so conflicted as to how to respond. While I’m well able to provide a caring, loving, and compassionate environment to any student, and to give advice about social skills, depression, and anxiety, I’m not prepared to coach, advise, or endorse kids considering changing their gender. Other than suggesting that another mental worker in the office take all of these cases (awkward), I’m not sure what to do. I want to validate the very real feelings these kids have around their gender identity; but I do not want to lead them astray. Any other mental health workers in public schools facing this issue?

  • Joannah says:

    I am not a teacher but a Christian needing guidance around this topic. I found this via an internet search. You have been so very helpful to me, especially in giving a practical example of how to act with the Spirit’s leading. Bless you for your courage and encouragement.

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