The question of sin (2 of 4)

Today, I turn to specific ways I have been told that transitioning from one’s birth sex is a sinful action.

Deuteronomy 22:5 is the one verse which appears to speak most directly to the issue at hand: “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this” (NIV).

This is used to run the gamut of issues: crossdressing, drag queens, the fetishistic use of the garments of the opposite sex, impersonating the other sex for the purpose of deception, and transitioning from one sex to the other.

If this edict holds in the New Testament era, I question whether it applies to the person who has a condition, which has the person in a weakened state, who does not desire to offend the Lord or take to the opposite sex out of any illicit desire for the purpose of sexual fulfillment or tricking anyone, but whose earnest desire is to find physical and mental healing no differently than any person with a real, physical illness, disease, or condition.

Further, I am befuddled why this one verse is taken from Deuteronomy 22 (see also chapters 21 and 23 and more) as applicable in the New Testament era when no other declaration from there is taken as applicable today. One friend suggested I mention that modern farmers do not leave droppings of wheat, corn, and the like for the widows and orphans to glean, yet God’s Word says to do that.

Next, because I was created male and am married, I was admonished, while still serving as a pastor, that I am rejecting the Lord’s gift of being created male and that, should I transition, I am effectively causing a divorce from my wife. A third sin was presented to me, that I am solely relying on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and acting as if no laws of God apply to me.

When these three sins were presented to me, I found myself moved by the Holy Spirit to repent. I acknowledged that I wanted to be thankful to be a male, even as I struggled with that. I acknowledged that I was not fulfilling my godly duty to be Christ to Julie (see Ephesians 5:22ff). I said that I was not consciously ignoring God’s laws but could in fact be blinded in my struggle and be guilty of that, so I also repented of that. I was absolved. I have strived to live in my repentance.

My condition continued to worsen. More intense became the struggle with myself and trying to apply God’s Word as it was spoken to me. I now stand as follows regarding the three sins in question:

– If I were healthy, I would rejoice in my being created male. It is only because of my affliction that I have investigated and taken action, such as hormone replacement therapy. I fall at the Lord’s mercy. I do not want to offend Him or any person. I am so weakened by this gender dysphoria. I do not reject being created male even as I do not feel or identify with being male.

– If I were healthy, I would be the husband to Julie whom I vowed to be and long to be. If you have not read what Julie wrote, please find that, from two weeks ago, and give it your attention. She testifies to what I have been saying, that our marriage is strong, it overflows with love and affection and respect. Could my fellow Christians graciously recognize that I am in a situation as a man who is so sick that he cannot earn a living or fulfill other duties of a husband, whom no one would ever accuse of shirking his vocation or vows?

– As for God’s commandments and decrees, I work hard to be a law-abiding person. When I struggle with certain decrees, like Deuteronomy 22:5, and when there are other Scriptures which I question whether they apply to me in my condition, I return to where the Lord Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments as the two great commands, to love the Lord my God with all my heart and soul strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. These are continually before me as my rule and norm, and as my joy. Indeed, these two great laws have been my motivation in all of my writing these past two-and-a-half months.

We do not normalize that which is unusual, but we do find the better answer for horrible circumstances. Here, I carefully and gently offer the occasion of a pregnant woman’s health worsening to where her life is in peril. We, in the LCMS, are strongly pro life, correctly calling abortion murder and sin, yet if the best medical counsel is that only one can survive, the mother would be saved. We would not declare the woman to have sinned in sacrificing her child. The only reason the mother’s life becomes more valuable is because she, hopefully, is a wife, perhaps already a mother to living children, and might also bear more children.

We do not normalize that which is unusual, but we do find the better answer for horrible circumstances. Gender dysphoria is unusual. I ask that my fellow Christians allow that under normal circumstances, no, a person will not transition, but in a tragic situation this might be an acceptable answer.

This is a good time for this reminder: I believe my brain was affected in the womb, that my mother took an artificial female hormone so as not to suffer a third consecutive miscarriage. Some studies have found nearly half of males, whose mothers took the drug, reporting some level of being transgender. Certain physical attributes I possess serve as indicators that the work of male hormones was disrupted in the womb. I am all but convinced that I have a physical malady so that I have male DNA, yet a brain formed female. Mine is not solely a mental illness or a spiritual condition. My study leads me to find it is a real, physical thing which causes my dis-ease.

Because I believe it is my duty to take every reasonable step to remain male, and because I do not wish to sin, I recently accepted the gracious offer for pastoral care from a highly respected theologian in the LCMS. Our sessions have already begun. I say this to demonstrate that I have not jumped ship, that I continue to seek a way to be content as a man, that I explore every last avenue. It is my goal to be able to answer “yes” whenever asked, “But, did you try this?”

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5 thoughts on “The question of sin (2 of 4)

  1. It’s funny that you bring up the abortion issue. I view it a little differently and perhaps more horribly. In my view, if one is to survive, it should be the child. Though tragic, the mother had her time on Earth and should be willing to sacrifice herself for her child. Perhaps my views on this are too hard. I am rather cold. But willful taking of another life VS willful sacrifice for another life seem like two very different things; one being murder and one offering a form of salvation.

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  2. As always, thank you for offering your frank response, friend. I’ve never heard anyone suggest the child be saved over the mother, and always that this is simply a terrible situation in which we must be filled with compassion. I agree with the LCMS stance. How could one sacrifice a wife and gain a child, or another child, and how have no wife? That would be a sin against the husband.

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    1. I think this is a situation where no good can come of it. When the decision has to be made that someone will die, I think most people would choose to execute the unborn child. The emotional attachment isn’t there like it is with the wife so the decision is easier. But when you remove the emotional connection, the choice becomes less clear. There is someone who got to experience life and joy and then there is someone who has not yet had that opportunity.

      If I may relate a story to you. I used to work with a woman (and I must point out that she was not Christian and certainly didn’t act like one either). She had two children. When she was pregnant with her second child, there was some kind of issue where the one of them was going die. Either her or the child. The doctors could only save one and basically guaranteed her that one of them would be dead. The tried to get her to perform an abortion in order to save her life, but she would have nothing of it. She didn’t care whether she lived or died as long as her son got to live. She’d enjoyed life and wanted her son to be able to have the opportunity of life as well. So the doctors delivered her baby as she prepared to die.

      That was almost 20 years ago and she’s still alive and well today. Remember, she was guaranteed to die if they saved the baby. If she had chosen abortion, her son would absolutely be dead and she would still be here. However, she chose death to save her son and is still with us today. Was it a fluke? Perhaps. But it doesn’t change the fact that by choosing death for the mother we have two living people instead of one.

      Her story is not the reason I feel the way I do, but it does re-enforce it. For this reason and that doctors can be wrong, I feel that it is right to choose the child because there is (even the slightest) chance that both could live. If one were to choose to save the mother, one will absolutely die.

      Lastly, I do pray that I am never put in this situation because I know that I am a sinful evil man and I would probably choose to execute my unborn child to save my wife, even though logically I believe it to be the wrong decision.

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  3. “I think this is a situation where no good can come of it.” You said it all right there.

    It is true that a prognosis might not be a result, as the situation you cited. I always counseled my members when in a tough spot: listen to the doctors, talk, pray, then make a decision, do not look back, trust in the Lord that He abides with you in the action you are taking.

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