She experienced same-sex attraction for the first time when she was five years old. These feelings were a part of her life as long as she could remember. As she grew into a teenager the feelings only intensified. By age seventeen, she pursued her first female relationship and openly embraced her life as a lesbian.
Then, at age nineteen something radical happened in her life. She was introduced to a man named Jesus. She had never known a love so powerful before. She had never experienced a love so intimate and satisfying. Over the next few years, Jesus transformed her life from the inside out.
This is the true story of a woman named Jackie Hill Perry.
Her life stands as a beacon of hope for anyone struggling with same-sex attraction (SSA).
If this is your struggle, you are not alone. Jackie Hill Perry wrote an article on the Desiring God Blog where she shares how her desires and longings for female relationships were intensely real. They felt so right. They seemed so normal.
But as she grew in her relationship with Jesus, studied the Bible, and learned about God’s design for manhood, womanhood, gender, and marriage, she came to a crucial fork in the road.
She says, “As I was praying and meditating on [God’s truth], God put this impression on my heart: ‘Jackie, you have to believe that my word is true even if it contradicts how you feel.’ Wow! This is right. Either I trust in his word or I trust my own feelings. Either I look to him for the pleasure my soul craves or I search for it in lesser things. Either I walk in obedience to what he says or I reject his truth as if it were a lie.”
Jackie is very open and honest about how hard it was to leave behind her female love interests. It was (and is) a process of trusting in God’s transforming grace each day. She said, “I cannot let these things or [women] go on my own. I love them too much. But I know [God is] good and strong enough to help me.”
If you struggle with same-sex attraction, or know someone who does, it can be a very lonely and painful struggle.
You might even feel ashamed to talk about it and afraid to let others know. But sister, please hear this. God sees you and knows your struggle. He doesn’t view you any differently than any other women. Your struggle may look different than mine, but at the core, we are the same.
We are both broken women in need of the transforming power of Jesus in our lives. We are both women who face sinful temptations everyday.
When talking about SSA, it’s extremely important to distinguish the difference between “sin” and “temptation.” Nick Roen, a man who struggled with SSA for many years wrote a helpful article about this. He says, “Experiencing a specific same-sex attraction is not necessarily a sin. Let’s say that I experience an attraction to another man. I don’t go looking for it, but it rises up spontaneously within me. At this point, my attraction falls into the category of temptation, and I can do one of two things. I can fight the desire in the same manner that anyone who is tempted with pride, jealousy, or fear would, and kill it before I sin. Or I can follow the desire into lust of the mind and eventually the flesh, which is a volitional sin.”
In light of your temptation with SSA, the Bible says there is “nothing new under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9).
Your struggle is not new to humankind. The Bible also offers the powerful truth that “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
Sister, regardless of your daily temptation and struggle with same-sex attraction, your temptations are not beyond the reach of God’s power. In Him there is true hope, freedom, and new life.
Sadly though, the society that we live in will not point you to this awesome Redeemer.
We live in a day and age where human autonomy reigns supreme. We’re told to “follow our hearts” and “be true to ourselves.” Although this sounds good, it leaves no room for God. Our feelings, desires, and longings become the gods in our life. We’re encouraged to place our feelings on the highest pedestal and to submit to them. Christopher Asmus, a man who has a similar testimony as Jackie Hill Perry said, “The overarching sexual ethic of our day is ‘I feel, therefore I am.’ This mindset leads us to find our identity in our sexual desires, rather than in Christ.
The Bible reveals a very different narrative.
As we open our Bibles, we see that God created humans in the very beginning of time to walk in a beautiful relationship with Him (Genesis 2). Adam and Eve were created in God’s image as male and female and were made for His glory. Their desires and longings were unpolluted by sin. It wasn’t until they chose to rebel against God that sin entered the world (Genesis 3). From that moment on, sin permeated the hearts of every human that walked on the earth — including you and me today.
Sin pollutes our desires, longings, and feelings. The Bible describes these warped desires as being contrary and opposed to what is right and true. Galatians 5:17a says, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh…”
Christopher Asmus says, “As a result of the fall, our hearts are out of order and dark (Romans 1:21). Instead of loving light and hating darkness, we love darkness and hate light (John 3:19). And as we fall more in love with darkness, we sin and choose the way of death (James 1:14–15; Proverbs 14:12).”
As we look to God’s Word to inform our worldview about sin and our desires, we are each faced with the same question that Jackie Hill Perry faced: Will I submit to my feelings or will I submit to God? Will I find my identity in my sexual desires, or will I find my identity in who Jesus Christ says I am?
Will I trust in God’s Word, or will I trust in myself?
Jesus loved us so much that He came to this earth and died on a cross to free us from the power of sin in our lives. What we messed up, He came to restore. He died to break the chains of bondage and distortion in our lives. He came to offer new life and hope in Himself.
“The most foundational lie SSA tells us is that a homosexual experience will be more pleasurable and more satisfying than what you are experiencing here and now. But God promises that Christ himself is infinitely more pleasurable and satisfying than anything this world has to offer (Psalm 16:11; Psalm 107:9), especially the sad counterfeit savior of a same-sex experience. If you’re a Christian struggling with same-sex attractions, know that you are not defined by your sin. Your identity is not determined by your temptations. ‘Embrace who you really are’ by embracing Jesus Christ and your new life found in him (2 Corinthians 5:17). ‘Be true to yourself’ by clinging to Truth himself (John 14:6) and enjoying the freedoms Christ purchased for you with his blood.” —Christopher Asmus
No matter how long you’ve struggled with same-sex attraction, it does not have to define you.
Your battle is ultimately a battle of sin and the flesh just like mine. It’s a battle of faith. It’s a battle of surrender. It’s a battle of trusting in Christ so deeply and fully that His transforming grace becomes sufficient for your struggle. It’s relying on Jesus each day and looking to Him for strength to say no to the flesh, and yes to righteousness.
Jackie Hill Perry, Christopher Asmus, and many others are examples of the sufficiency of God’s grace for same-sex attraction. He is strong enough and powerful enough to change the desires of your heart. And even if the temptations never fully go away (for some they don’t), you must trust in Jesus to give you the strength to resist the daily temptation as you look to Him.
As Jackie Hill Perry so beautifully reminds us, “If lasting love is what you’re looking for anywhere else, you are chasing the wind, seeking what you will never find, slowly being destroyed by your pursuit. But in Jesus, there is fullness of joy.
In Jesus, there is a relationship worth everything, because he is everything. Run to him.”
For further help and direction regarding same-sex attraction, I highly recommend the following books and articles. Please take some time to dig into these helpful and biblical resources. They will be a huge help and encouragement for you as you navigate this struggle in your life.
Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie Hill Perry
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield
Love Letter to a Lesbian by Jackie Hill Perry
Is It Sin to Experience Same-Sex Attraction? By Nick Roen
Longing for Intimacy: Four Promises for Same-Sex-Attracted Christians by: Christopher Asmus