July 22, 2020
He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally he will cause justice to be victorious. Matthew 12:20 NLT
Numerous times in counseling appointments I have compassionately referred to a person’s brokenness. More often than not, there was some reticence to refer to themselves as broken in any way. There is great joy and wisdom in realizing we are all broken people, more on some days than others, and we live in the midst of broken people. It helps everyone to get clarity on that point.
Being broken puts us under the watchful eye and special care of our Father. This illustration, first recorded by the prophet Isaiah and used here by Jesus, is meant to be a great encouragement to us all. Reeds were used to weave baskets and other beautiful, practical items. Bruised reeds lost their value because of appearance and strength and were trashed. These reeds are an obvious reference to bruised people. The Hebrew word Isaiah used, literally means “hurt by oppression.”
Discouragement is brutal. We have all been bruised reeds at some point in our lives. We have all experienced times when we were oppressed and discouraged, bruised and almost broken. Life is messy. Life hurts. Curve balls disrupt our lives. An unexpected event happens, a storm blows into our lives, or an uncaring person bursts into our day. We are left bruised and hurting, questioning our value.
Likewise, a wick in a candle or lantern that was flickering and burning dimly would be put out and replaced. Can you identify with a flickering candle? It describes those who are exhausted or “burnt-out.” People who feel like failures, outcasts, or “problem people.” Someone who seems to find it impossible to live up to other people’s expectations. Many are quick to devalue these people, but Jesus does not. It doesn’t matter how much our candle is flickering, or how low on oil our lantern is, Jesus will shelter and fan it back to life.
God through Jesus promises that He will not break the bruised life or snuff out the dimly-lit life. Rules and religion would devalue and destroy it for not being whole, Jesus will not. He will not break, crush, bruise, or turn away anyone who is seeking to know or grow in Him. Jesus will not quench the smallest hope.
May we encourage ourselves as we recognize our own brokenness and love others in theirs.
- Pray: Jesus, thank You for Your unconditional love! May I receive it and share it in this broken world that You will one day restore in wholeness and justice! Amen.