Since we have moved to the north of the country I have been introduced to horsetail in our garden. It’s a pernicious weed that crops up amongst favourite plants and takes persistent killing (apparently) to eradicate it. At first I thought the best way to deal with it was to dig out the roots, which run deep throughout the whole flower bed. Unfortunately as you dig deep, loosen the soil and give the roots a good pull, they’re extremely soft and break easily, achieving nothing in the battle against the horsetail.
The Bible tells us that Jesus won’t break or crush a bruised reed. I’d always understood this to mean that He honours the vulnerable and the broken-hearted, and will treat them with special gentleness – refusing to break them or be brutal. He comes to restore and to encourage. And this is true. Surely it means that we must also respect, honour and treat others with similar gentleness. Or maybe it even means we should treat ourselves this way. When we and others sin shouldn’t we treat each other in the same way that Jesus does? Of course we must hate the sin, but surely we must respect the person who happens to be sinning, and that includes us! It isn’t always easy, and many of us condemn others or go into self-condemnation. But Jesus says ‘neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin’ to the woman caught in adultery (John 8:11).
So, now, as I treat the horsetail with great respect, I remember how Jesus treats me, and how I should be treating others. Whether we ourselves are bruised reeds and hurting, or whether we’re coming alongside hurting people, let’s be gentle and have a culture of honour. None of us deserve it, but Jesus made the way for all of us to be in the presence of our Holy God and Heavenly Father.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You’re gentle with us, especially when we’re vulnerable. Even though You’re the Holy One, You reach down to where we’re at, and love us deeply, whatever we’ve done. May I be able to reflect Your gentleness and respect to others, and to myself when I fail. I’m sorry for the many times I’ve let You down in this respect. Please do a deep work in me, to change me into Your likeness. Amen.
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