“A gay girl once? Yes. Now? I am what God’s goodness will do to a soul once grace gets to it.” So begins Jackie Hill Perry’s story of being faithfully pursued by God and being set free by His love and grace. It was difficult reading about Jackie’s painful past of growing up with a mostly absent and coldly unloving father and suffering sexual abuse from a relative. But I was inspired by her story and the spiritual insight she shared.
Jackie’s struggle with homosexuality and same-sex attraction (SSA) is important for Christians to understand. It’s also instructive in helping believers approach people who identify as gay. What I really appreciate about Jackie is that she forcefully disposes of the myth that SSA individuals can “come to God believing that only a fraction of themselves needs saving.” Jackie admits she used to believe “only one aspect of my life was worthy of judgment, while the rest deserved heaven. That my other vices were ‘not as bad.’ They were just struggles I had to work on instead of repenting.”
There is a trap Christians can fall into. It’s believing that people identifying as LGBTQ need to be saved from the LGBTQ “lifestyle.” We all need to be saved period. What Jackie explains in Gay Girl, Good God (available for $8.22 on kindle) is that people just need to hear the Gospel and make a decision to trust God or not. The root of all sin is disbelief in God. It’s certainly what caused Adam and Eve to sin in the garden. If people make a decision to trust God, that doesn’t mean He will take away their same-sex attraction. It does mean He will help them defeat temptation and transform their hearts thru His Spirit.
There are a lot of profound insights in this book. I appreciated Jackie’s discussion of Jesus’ healing of the man born blind.
Do you know why we have a hard time believing that a gay girl can become a completely different creature? Because we have a hard time believing God. The Pharisees saw the man born blind, heard his testimony, heard about his past, and how it was completely different from the present one, and refused to believe the miracle because of WHO the miracle pointed to. They were skeptical of the miracle because they didn’t have a real faith in the God who’d done it. The miracle was less about the blind man and more about a good God. It showed HIM off. His power. His ability to do what He wants. How He wants, when He wants, and to whomever He chooses.
When approaching family, friends, and neighbors who identify as gay, proclaiming the Gospel is critical. We need to help them understand that God is the greatest and most glorious person we can enjoy and experience. Jackie explains:
If God is bigger than we can imagine, we are wasting our time to chase after something or someone lesser than Him. And because we know that He is our all in all, in our temptations, our trials, and our victories, we must place our ultimate identity not in who we are, but in who we know God to be.
Perry’s observation reminds me of C.S. Lewis’ famous one:
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
This is the reality we all face, whether we are SSA (same-sex attracted) or attracted to people of the opposite sex. Will we stop rebelling against God and begin to trust Him? Will we accept His extravagant love and grace or will we spurn it?
Jackie closes her book with weapons SSA followers of Jesus have in their arsenal. Most importantly, we all have God’s Spirit living in us, we have God’s Word, and we have His church. We do not fight alone. No war was ever won by an individual. We must go into battle together. We gain victory over sin and temptation together (the church community), thru the power of God’s Spirit (which He gives to all who surrender their lives to Him) and by knowing and relying on the truth of His Word (the Bible).
Justin’s star rating: 5 out of 5 stars.
Justin’s Reflect Book Review Rating system:
5 stars (Excellent: buy a hard copy of the book and give to a friend when finished reading)
4 stars (Very good: buy a kindle or audible version)
3 stars (Good: buy a used copy on Amazon or borrow from a local library)
2 stars (Pass)
1 star (Don’t waste your time)