Through presenting numerous testimonies of individuals who have been impacted by SSA in one way or another, Good News for Bruised Reeds: Walking with Same-sex Attracted Friends brought about many new insights and fresh perspectives. While there are many books and articles available about the biblical understanding of SSA that guide us on how we ought to look at the issue, these works often fall short of helping Christians understand the struggles that these individuals experience, which is crucial for Christians to truly empathise and journey with them. Many a time, we hear of the generic idea of “loving the sinner and hating the sin” being thrown around. Yet, most of us are unsure of what that even means. This book gives concrete testimonies that demonstrate to readers what that truly encompasses, and acts as a mirror for Christians to pick apart our preconceived notions about individuals with SSA and to reflect on the way we relate to them.
Personally, the testimonies in this book encouraged me greatly for numerous reasons. As I read through stories of those that have had experiences journeying closely alongside individuals with SSA, I resonated strongly with their feelings of helplessness, fear and inadequacy. Yet, it was through their weaknesses that I saw how God came through for many of them in the process of supporting their friends with SSA. This was further solidified as I read testimonies of individuals with SSA who had struggled for long periods of time before they returned to God because He had revealed Himself to them. I was led to remember the sovereignty of God both in the individual lives of people with SSA and in growing His church to become a safe space for the broken.
I was also encouraged by the vulnerability of some of the individuals. This book serves as a wonderful depiction of what it means to say that God’s glory is made perfect in our weakness. It was through the baring of weaknesses that I managed to see how God brought about many breakthroughs that no man was capable of bringing.
The editors of this book had also made the bold decision to include stories of those who are still struggling with SSB (same-sex behaviours). While I found this to be interesting and also helpful in deepening my understanding towards individuals who chose to continue pursuing same-sex relationships, these stories may be confusing for individuals who have yet to understand the biblical truths related to homosexuality. Nonetheless, I feel like it was a good call to include these stories as they allow readers to understand that not every story ends up with same-sex attracted individuals turning away from this lifestyle and towards obeying God. Personally, it was also a reminder to myself that the fruit of journeying with same-sex attracted individuals is not dependent on how well I fare in walking through their struggles with them or even how good a friend I am. Rather, it is dependent on the individual’s personal choice to commit to Christ and on God’s timing in revealing His truths and love to them.
This is a book that I would definitely recommend to people who are interested to deepen their empathy and understanding towards individuals struggling with SSA. Even for those who do not have friends in their immediate social circle who struggle with SSA, this book is helpful as it allows us to learn about how we can play a part in building a church that is loving to such individuals.
You can view a sample of Walking with Same-sex Attracted Friends here.
This review is written by Hillary Tan, who is a social worker. Hillary loves a good cup of coffee and quality conversations.