Imagine if you will, a perfect flower arrangement with one bruised and wilted stem, languishing among a vase full of strong, upright, beautiful blooms. Your hand reaches out to remove the almost broken, ugly one but then you hear Jesus say, “A bruised reed I will not break”.
What will you do? It's surely quicker and easier to throw it out, but let's say you want to obey. If you're anything like me, you'll probably quickly maneuver it behind another stem for support, slightly frustrated the bloom has wilted in the first place so quickly! I mean who likes inconvenience?
Real love is costly and inconvenient.
Okay, so let's say you quickly moved it behind another stem but then it again wilts down, just now from behind...The quick-fix and support of another stem did not work...Tempted once again to throw the stem out you hear Jesus again say, “A bruised reed I will not break”.
The real solution will be to attend to the stem's needs rather than a quick prop-up. The stem will need to be trimmed, placed within the center of the vase surrounded by many others, and have clean, fresh water supplied.
Real love is costly and inconvenient. It is patient, requiring grace and time.
I honestly don't like to be inconvenienced. I don't like being patient, facing frustrations, or praying for others who may have hurt me. It's much easier to cut people off. But Jesus' love compels me, for Jesus said, “A bruised reed I will not break” (Isaiah 42: 1-20).
Jesus said of the woman anointing His feet with her tears, that she loved so much because she had been forgiven of so much...Real love is costly and inconvenient. This display of love for Jesus was an outrageous, scandalous proclamation of devotion. It makes me ponder, how much do we give? How much do we let our faith inconvenience us? How outrageous and loud are we about grace and salvation?
Jesus said to those ready to throw the first stone and kill the woman caught in the very act of adultery, to only throw if they had no sin. We know from scripture they all put down their stones and walked away...
A bruised reed He will not break.
How often do we remember how much we have been forgiven of by Jesus? How quick are we to become like those who failed to see their own need before condemning others? How quick are we to let offenses cause division, and to let fears rob us of reaching out in love to the marginalised, or others of a different faith?
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:3-12)
Are we merciful? Are we peacemakers? Do we have pure motives? Do we let His love inconvenience and cost us? Do we pray for those who hurt or persecute us? Are we willing to call someone and make the first move for reconciliation whenever possible?
I was reminded recently that Jesus said, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” (Matthew 7: 1-2).
May we remember each day, the mercy, forgiveness and grace we have been shown, and of our Father's gentleness and heart for others. For truly, a bruised reed He will not break.
May we rant less and share more in gentleness and through inconvenient love! Melanie.
Let me leave you with Casting Crowns, 'If we are the body'.