Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 21, 2013

I was struck recently by the description of Jesus from Isaiah 42:3

"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 ... 


  1. This is a big topic this week. I read this and started thinking about the legalizm in churches and how damaging that can be to reaching the next generation. the one that came to my mind is non smokers have a way to condemn people that smoke. But take no mention or thought of a weight problem they have them selves and the fact that they over eat at every meal and through out every day. But some how the smoker is a way worse person than them. in my own walk I found myself falling into this some what righteous type of attitude, like I got all the answers for everyone around me, or all the rules down pat and you should follow the same rules I do. I think it shows a great level of maturity to identify with all people. Hard to do. But the risk comes in when we spend to much time there. For example if you don't swear and hang around people who do every other word I think even the best of us would get caught with a slipped in swear word. or from my own walk I reached out to some people and ended up starting smoking again, my own failure. it all does come back to just looking at our own walk. so we aren't like the Pharisee who prayed Thank you God that im not like that tax collector. For we all answer for our own actions in the end. All things are lawful but not all are beneficial. I don't think Jesus is as concerned with the things we do, things we wear or who we hold hands with, as much as he is about whats in our hearts. David was a murderer, adulterer, lied and stole, killed innocent women and children, in a lot of cases just took and did as he wanted. But yet he is the only person in the bible who is called a man after Gods own heart. We just cant ever for get that we are all a work in progress. And pride tells us we are better than the next guy. Its a long road that is different for every one. now in my opinion, the pastor of the church does need to speak truth from bible. and call out peoples sin as the sheaperd of that flock. but I don't believe it is always the job of the body to

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, as always, autokamper. The reason I called it a challenge to "identify" without losing "identity" is because it is not easy. Yet I believe it is our calling, and with the power of the Holy Spirit I believe we can learn to do it well, not perfectly, but well and getting better all the time. As far as the pastor speaking truth, I agree. However, even the pastor needs to be sensitive as to which truth a person needs to hear at which time. Some people are ready for greater discipline (solid food), whereas others are just beginning as babies and need milk to start off. (see Hebrews 5:12-14) Besides not every sermon deals with every particular sin, etc.

  3. pastor has a toughest job around without a doubt. your great at it. So keep it up.

  4. Thanks Bro. I appreciate your good thoughts, encouragement, and prayers!