Bruised Reeds

Have you ever heard the verse, “A bruised reed He will not break…” Can you picture the bruised reed? Fragile…easily shaken by the wind? Bent over, discolored, having been beaten and broken by some force? Maybe someone had charged their way through a cattail marsh and thrashed around a stick ahead of them, bashing the cattails to the side to clear their way, leaving a clearly marked trail of destruction in their wake. Sometimes it seems our world full of people like that.

The bruised reed represents people around us who are hurting, spiritually weak, or of little faith. They need to be treated with gentleness until their true need is exposed and they open up to ask for help. Maybe they are battling some physical illness. Maybe they are experiencing difficulties in their relationships with others. Maybe they are discouraged. Maybe they are grieving, angry, embarrassed, worried, longing, hoping, waiting—left empty—battered and bruised. Shouldn’t we approach each other with the utmost gentleness until we learn more about what’s at the heart of a person’s spirit?

People are at ease around a truly gentle person. If you would like to help people who are hurting and in need, you first need to practice gentleness. Bruised Reeds will sense your gentleness and will open the door to their spirit. At first that door may be open only a small crack, but with time and trust, they will usually open the door. In fact in today’s harsh society, bruised reeds usually flock to people known for their gentleness.

So how do we develop gentleness in our lives? It is not a natural characteristic. It is a gift from the Spirit. It must be sought. Then gentleness must be applied in our lives. How will gentleness manifest itself in our lives?

We will actively seek to make others feel at ease—being sensitive to their opinions and ideas.

We will show respect for the personal dignity of the other person. When we feel compelled to change a wrong opinion, we will do so with gentle persuasion and kindness rather than domination and intimidation.

We will avoid blunt speech and abrupt manner, being sensitive to how others react to our words. When it is necessary to provide correction, we will build it on a foundation of encouragement.

We won’t be threatened by opposition, but will gently wait for the opposition to be dissolved over time.

We will not belittle or degrade or gossip about a brother or sister who has stumbled and succumbed to vice, but will gently encourage them and patiently pray for their repentance.

We will be particularly gentle with our mates, our children, our families, and our friends—the ones we say we love.

We will be gentle in the way we care for ourselves and set expectations for ourselves.

It would serve us well to remember that in one way or another, we are all “Bruised Reeds”. That if for no other reason is why we should be gentle people—gentle men and gentle women, with good manners and respect for one another. We virtuous people should shine forth as lights in the world by emulating gentleness in word and deed.

A bruised reed we shall not break.