Author and hip hop artist Jackie Hill Perry is on a mission to help equip the Christian church, while also encouraging people who are same-sex attracted. Perry released a new book last year that dives deep into her life experiences—and the Bible's presentation of hope and truth.
Perry is hoping to inspire and educate people through Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was, and Who God Has Always Been.
"I wanted those in the church to kind of grow in their understanding and empathy of those who are same-sex attracted so that they can love them better," she recently told "The Pure Flix Podcast." "I wanted those who are same-sex attracted in the church to be encouraged."
Perry, who became a Christian when she was 19, said she's also hoping to speak to those who don't know where they stand on the topic and who might waver on the issue of sexuality.
And she knows quite a bit about the issue based on her own experience.
"Jackie grew up fatherless and experienced gender confusion," Perry's bio reads. "She abused marijuana, loved pornography and embraced both masculinity and homosexuality with every fiber of her being."
Listen to Perry's story of transformation at the 26:00-minute mark:
She shared how she experienced challenges as a young woman and eventually decided to "just do what I thought was best for me."
"I ... was a typical girl who loved everything but God," Perry said, noting, though, that her convictions about her lifestyle were starting to intensify before she became a Christian.
Her aunt, a Christian, had taken her to church for the first 10 years of her life and, as a result, Perry was feeling pressure.
"I had a basic level understanding of the gospel, which was really all I needed to know, which was that Jesus came and died for sinners," she said.
Then, in October 2008, something shocking happened. For the first time, Perry said she saw her sin and recognized that Jesus is the only person she could turn to if she wanted to make it right.
"I just had this immediate and random awareness of my sin and its consequences. I just saw overwhelmingly that the consequences were not worth my life, were not worth my soul," she said. "I just kind of saw Jesus rightly for the first time ... I repented and believed."
Perry had been living life with her girlfriend, smoking marijuana and projecting masculinity— but her conversion changed everything.
"I had this awareness of God that I had never had before," she said. "I sincerely cared that God saw my heart and what was going on in it."
The transition, though, wasn't easy, as Perry admitted: "Life got harder when I became a Christian." She had to learn how to live day-to-day life without her girlfriend, and she experienced grief as she grappled with assimilating into a church culture she previously feared.
Despite struggles, Perry noted that God guided her throughout her journey—and continues to do so.
"God, He really was a lamp unto my feet," she said. "He really did light my path and guide me into a community that loved me well."
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Perry also clarified the view that some have surrounding the struggles people who are same-sex attracted face. While some claim one will no longer experience same-sex attraction after he or she becomes a Christian, she said people don't expect the same thing in other circumstances.
"We don't expect that of heterosexual people. If there's a girl who was promiscuous and comes to the faith, we don't expect her to not lust anymore," Perry said. "We assume that it is a struggle she has, but we know that God will help her."
She advocated for people to think deeper about God's role in helping people overcome sin.
"God gives us power to flee sexual immorality when we trust Him," she said. "I don't think the conversation should revolve around 'are the temptations gone or done away with' but rather 'have you been freed from the penalty and the power of sin over your life,' where you're able to resist these temptations when they do come."
And in an era in which many churches have turned away from biblical sexuality, Perry noted what the Bible has to say about such things.
"I think that the Bible is true, that the love for God and of people will wax cold, that itching ears will abound. God has warned us that this will happen," she said. "I grieve, and I grieve because I think well-meaning Christians really do believe that to affirm someone's same-sex ... behavior, I think that they believe that that really is love, that really is compassion."
While Perry said she understands how someone might come to this conclusion, the truth is often shielded.
"The problem comes that you somehow believe that acting out on your affections is the highest good when really us loving God is the highest good," she said. "I grieve for the believers who don't really actually have a real, theological-anchored view and perspective of love and God, where relationships and sexual intimacy has become the highest aim rather than us loving Jesus and knowing him. It's sad, but I do get it."
Find out more about Perry here.
This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free, one-month trial here.
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