The Bruised Reed
How often have we felt like a bruised reed? Something someone carelessly walked past and bent? Maybe the bruising came from a mean-spirited word, callous action, or outright hostility.
Perhaps we’ve felt bruised by a particular life issue that wore us down until we thought we’d never survive.
It could be we’ve felt bruised and burdened by our own harmful actions, callousness, and sins.
Whatever the cause of our bruising, Isaiah 42:3 tells us Jesus will not break the bruised reed. Neither will he quench the dimly burning flame.
Christ Tempers the Wind
In the 13th Morning devotion in his book, The Words and Mind of Jesus published in 1858, J.R. Macduff writes that Christ deals with bruised reeds tenderly, tempering the wind to the shorn lamb.
I love that picture of Jesus as our Good Shepherd. Macduff continued, saying Jesus utters no word of needless harshness or upbraiding to the erring wanderer. Jesus will not break the bruised reed. Instead, he gently brings the wandering sheep home.
Jesus is well aware of our sins and short-comings. Still, when he speaks to us, the goal is to lead us to repentance, not to crush us beyond all hope of restoration.
It’s been my experience that not all of us have an attitude like Christ. We delight in crushing the bruised reed. The old kick a fella when he’s down, attitude. Macduff speaks to this when he says:
How many have an unholy pleasure in finding a brother in the wrong, blazing abroad his failings; administering rebuke, not in gentle forbearance and kindly expostulation, but with harsh and impatient severity! How beautifully did Jesus unite intense sensibility to sin, along with tenderest compassion for the sinner. J. R. Macduff The Words and Mind of Jesus 1858
Perhaps we’ve been on the receiving end of someone’s desire to break our bruised reed. Or it’s possible, we’ve taken pleasure in breaking another’s bruised reed. Either way, here are some closing insights from The Words and Mind of Jesus.
- Never say harsh things if kind things will do as well.
- Do not unnecessarily lacerate with recalling former delinquencies.
- In reproving another, let us rather feel how much we need reproof ourselves.
Consider Christ’s encounters with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), the woman brought before him in judgement (John 8), and Peter post-resurrection. (John 21).
Jesus will not break the bruised reed. Instead, he tempers the wind, convicts gently, and tells us to go and sin no more.
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He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the dimly burning flame. He will encourage the fainthearted, those tempted to despair. He will see full justice given to all who have been wronged. (Isaiah 42:3 TLB)
I wish you well.
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