EMAIL ADVICE: Should a Christian use “preferred pronouns?”
This is an "Email Advice" post...
I often receive emails that ask for my advice. When it feels that the things the Lord gives me to say in response to these requests could be helpful for others, I post the question (anonymously) and my responses here. May God use them for His glory and the equipping of His people.
I’ve heard you talk about truth in that people are binary in sex as created by God.
I completely agree.
However, I’m struggling with using preferred pronouns.
I know that it is important to love people where they are, and people who are choosing to ignore God in this matter are no exception.
I’ve also heard people talk about how important it is to them to feel respected in regard to having their preferred pronouns used.
My husband just uses their direct names. I struggle with that also.
Anyway, I was curious as to your thoughts on that matter.
You’re right, this is a timely issue in which we Christians must take care to represent God’s thoughts on the subject. I’ll try to be simple and to the point with my response…
A general principle on this issue is that God is true and upholds truth in all He is. It’s woven into His very character. We as His people must represent Him rightly in that aspect of who He is. HOW we do that is the question at hand.
An example to illustrate my beliefs and practice…
If a person has legally changed their name (from Bob to Christy, let’s say), it doesn’t matter really WHY he did so (sex change operation, identifying as a woman, or something else), the legal, true name of the person is now Christy. So I would have no problem calling the person by that name.
However, if the person was born a male, biologically speaking, it’s a falsehood for anyone to refer to him as “her.” People may do so, at his insistence, but it doesn’t make it right or true. It doesn’t matter how he feels about it, how he identifies, or how he wants others to address him, it’s untrue to call him a “she,” so I won’t do so.
Put the issue into any other context… say the man wants to be referred to as “it” because he identifies as a sparrow. The fact is, he is NOT a sparrow, he is a human being. To refer to him as “it” is not only ludicrous in its foolishness, to do so because he insists is to perpetuate and support his delusional viewpoint of himself.
All that said, people in situations like this are struggling with very real things — sin, the consequences of sin on their identity and mind, unstable emotional issues, or any other of a host of things. We Christ-followers should not be combative or condemning, but rather compassionate. They are not the enemy, they are victims of the enemy(ies) of their souls. We can do as you suggested and use their name whenever possible, avoiding contexts where we must unnecessarily offend them. But if we are asked directly to mislabel them by using the incorrect pronouns, we must graciously and kindly explain our position and WHY we hold it (we believe God desires us to speak truth, in love).
I hope that is helpful!
Get new posts via email
Ask a question
Ask your question about Biblical topics, Christian living, world issues, whatever.