"A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out."
For me this is the heart of God displayed in the life of Jesus. It challenges me because so often we seem to believe that it is our job to point out the sins of our brothers and sisters. Although Jesus Himself said, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." (Matthew 7:1) Too often, we find a "bruised reed" and we almost take pleasure in breaking it. In the same way, we find "a smoldering wick" and we cannot wait to snuff it out.
What is wrong with us? How have we gotten so far off track?
I recently had a conversation with a friend. She was talking about visiting a particular church and being disgusted because two women were holding hands a few rows in front of her. Her take on this was that this church must not be preaching the truth if these ladies feel comfortable there. However, I pointed out to her that maybe there was another way to look at it. What if these ladies have never met Jesus? What would be Jesus' words to them? Would he begin with condemnation, or would he first express His love and acceptance of them (not necessarily their lifestyle)?
Are we so focused on behavior that we have lost sight of people?
I believe the challenge for us is the same as it was for Jesus. The challenge is how to "identify" without losing our own "identity"? Are we secure enough in who we are in Christ to be able to interact freely (i.e. "identify") with people knowing that we can still maintain our own true "identity"? In other words, someone else's behavior does not need to dictate my own. I can truly love "sinners" (especially because I am one myself) without justifying their lifestyles, attitudes, behaviors, or ideas. I believe I can love them well, and still maintain the standards to which God has called me personally. Can you?
I invite you to share your thoughts as we journey together with Jesus along the way ...