Is it important to talk about struggles with sexual identity in the church? How can we as Christians encourage our brothers and sisters through these struggles?
Yes, we must share our deep struggles with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Anything that is a secret sin is going to flourish like mad. An ideal church for someone struggling with any kind of sexual sin or gender dysphoria is a church where everybody is repenting of sin. It’s a church where everybody thinks of repentance as a gift from God. Repentance is a threshold to a holy God. It’s something you do daily and hourly.
So what we need first is for our churches to be ready to embrace our friends who are struggling with gender dysphoria. It means that you don’t get to pretend that you’re all cleaned up. It would also be helpful to compile a list of people who speak on the subject and books written on the subject as resources for those who are struggling, but it has to be an ongoing battle. Ultimately, people in the church need to be able to talk about what’s going on in our lives. Nothing should be off limits. The most dangerous people in the church are the people whose secret sins are festering and flourishing, and eventually those sins are going to rise up and eat you alive. We need people in our church who are willing to be honest. If we want to serve others, we need to model that honesty.
What you can do as a friend is be a bridge. While the whole church might not know what to do with gender dysphoria, there are some folks in it who do—and you need to find those folks and have Thanksgiving, birthdays, prayer, etc., together. You need to enfold prayer as a means of grace into the ho-hum of life.
If you have a friend who has gone from gender dysphoria through a sex-change surgery, you need to remember that God’s grace and the gospel is the best news for people who have become transsexuals and have now come to Christ, because in the New Jerusalem there is no genital mutilation. You are made whole again. It is never too late in Christ and you are never too far gone. Be the bridge for someone.