Recently in church the pastor spoke from a familiar verse of scripture and, as so often happens, I saw something new and fresh in it. The scripture is Isaiah 54.17 and it reads:
“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD. (NAS)
As I read this verse lights went off, bells rang, fireworks ignited. Why? Because suddenly I had the answer to one of the most difficult issues we face as transgender folk — How do we justify ourselves before others? The answer is simple: We Don’t! It isn’t my job to prove to anyone that I am righteous. It isn’t my job to “prove myself” to anyone. My vindication will not come from my own efforts. My vindication comes from God.
In a way, I’ve known this instinctively for some time. I have for several months now refused to argue with people concerning my being Christian and transsexual. I will answer a few basic questions and state my reasons for believing transsexualism is not a sin, but I have become less and less interested in arguing someone down on this subject. Aside from the fact that it doesn’t work anyway, and that it tempts me to become angry with the other person and possibly bitter, I now know that it isn’t even my job.
Certainly, I believe in being ready to give serious answers to honest questions, but entering into protracted arguments with people to prove to them that I am a Christian, that I am in a right relationship with God, that I am not going to hell, is pointless.
Time after time in scripture, the people of God are told not to fight their own battles. David coming against Goliath says, “You come to me with spear and sword, but I come to you in the name of the lord of hosts.” Gideon had to get rid of most of his soldiers and then go into battle with just pitchers, horns and lamps. Jehosophat was commanded to “stand ye still and see the salvation of the Lord.” We are told that trusting in chariots and horses is futile.
Yet we hone our swords of exegesis, and marshal mighty armies of proof texts, and rush into the battle with chariots and horses of argument and logic. And what happens? We keep getting knocked down. Why? Because we are doing God’s job. Hear what II Chronicles 20:15 says: “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
Yet we continually push God out of His position at the head of the army and start flailing around under our own strength. We use the carnal weapons of evidence and argumentation which can never penetrate the heart. When we should be letting God do his work of tearing down the strongholds of prejudice and hatred.
There is no magic argument which is going to make anyone believe you are a Christian, if they have already decided you are not. So, there comes a time to simply back off and leave your justification in the hands of the only one who has the power and the right to do that job.
A retired college instructor, Terri Lynn Main holds a masters in psychology and has provided counseling for scores of transgender individuals. For eight years she directed an online ministry to Christian transsexuals called Emergence Ministries. She has written more than 20 transgender-themed short stories. She currently lives in Reedley, Calif., with her four cats. She continues to write, publish and teach online courses.