Monday, July 18, 2011

Bring a mop.

"A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out." - Isaiah 42:3 NIV

This verse came alive to me in a very personal way this weekend. I was listening to a talk from a church planting conference and the speaker mentioned this verse as part of the introduction to his message, but it hit me like a Mack truck.

Read that verse again. Really ...go read it again right now. Do you see the mind-blowing, wonderful, amazingly indescribable grace of God in that verse?

To think that God would see a bruised and bent life and not break it; to think that God would see one little lingering flick where there should be a smoldering fire and He would not extinguish it that's grace.

Last week I heard a pastor who had committed adultery, was restored, and has now started a new church talk about how Christianity should not be about shooting our wounded, but how we should just "get a mop" and, with the power of Christ, help them clean up the mess they've made of their lives.

Hrmm. Seems to me Isaiah 42:3 is basically saying that God is in the business of getting a mop. That when He could rightfully come across a bruised reed and break it, He doesn't. That when He sees a smoldering wick, He doesn't blow it out. That God loves to redeem and renew. That God is in the business of raising the dead. Wow. Now that's grace!

Are you tired? Are you feeling worn out? Do you feel like you can't go on anymore? You just really need a break right now? If life too much for you to handle right now? If you feel like that, you're probably a bruised reed or a smoldering wick. Honestly, I've felt that way a lot in recent weeks.

But isn't it overwhelmingly wonderful to know that even though God sees our mess, our brokenness, our sin, and our failures, He doesn't break us or condemn us - He just gets a mop? That's the grace of God right there.

And if God sees our mess and gets a mop, then when we see another Christian make a mess of their lives, we should just go alongside them and get a mop. That does not mean we ignore or downplay what they did and that does not mean they they are exempt from discipline or from the consequences of their sin. There is a place and time for discipline and consequences; those are a very important part of redemption.

But instead of just throwing them under the bus, our first reaction should be to go alongside those bruised reeds and smoldering wicks and bring a mop. I think that's what God would do.

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