A Note From Kelly King: One of today’s greatest cultural struggles is loving women struggling with gender identity and sexuality. Today, ongoing contributer, Deb Douglas, writes on this timely subject and how we can love women with the love of Christ. If you’re looking for a Bible Study that addresses the issue of gender, check out “A Beautiful Design” by Matt Chandler.
I did not want to write this article. In fact, writing it is like scraping a spoon through my veins. Not that has happened to me; it’s just an irrational fear based on a strong dislike of needles. Like my fear of negative comments.
I am not going to talk about the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality. I believe the Bible has done that. I will address a topic avoided by most churches: Women are struggling with homosexuality and gender doubt. If we deny this, then we are ignoring a large population of women who are hurting. They are feeling the church has no place for them and there is no one to help guide them through life’s challenges.
Here are some ideas to help you show God’s love to women struggling with their sexuality and gender identity:
- Understand that an unwillingness to love and a desire to judge are easily detected.
- Listen to women who are struggling. Listen for understanding and ways to be helpful.
- Learn the terminology. Using the correct terminology shows a caring, sensitive attitude.
- Discourage the use of pornography. Help pray through a healing path from addictions.
- Prepare to be shocked and uncomfortable. You may be shocked by how the more you get to know a woman, the more you will see the woman behind the struggles. You also may be shocked by worlds you may not understand, and it may make you feel uncomfortable.
What does a woman who is struggling with homosexuality and gender doubts need?
- She needs to know that she is loved.
- She needs to know God’s forgiveness is available to all.
- She needs to know she is not alone.
- She needs to know that all women have issues.
- She needs to know that there are women who will mentor her, walk with her through her struggles, and be accountability partners to her.
- She needs to know that as she struggles, she does not need the stress or responsibility of a leadership role.
- She needs to know God desires the best for her.
Recently while filling out medical forms, I learned that “sex” refers to the sex we are created as, but “gender” is the sex we feel. Sexual identity struggles are being faced everywhere, but many churches are avoiding this topic. Maybe it is because we are uncomfortable or we do not know what to say. But women are hurting. Sexual identity issues are messy; it is time for us to wade into the messiness of life.
For more help and resources on ministering in the messy, check out Women Reaching Women in Crisis and Steps: Gospel-Centered Recovery or refer to the other articles in the Hurting Women or Ministering in the Messy categories.
Dr. Deb Douglas has served in women’s ministry for over 37 years. Now she spends her time working with Purchased Ministry, a ministry to women in the sex trade industry. Deb is also the Director of Biblical Counseling at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA. She was the first to graduate from New Orleans Baptist Theological seminary with a Masters degree focusing on women’s ministry and has earned a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree from NOBTS. She is “Pearl” to 3 sweet grand babies, “Mom” to Jared Douglas and Katie Chavis, and wife/sweetheart to Paul Douglas.