Some of us will identify with Isaiah’s description of “a bruised reed.” Reeds were useful for all sorts of things including making rope, sandals, baskets etc. but a reed that was bruised was weakened and damaged, likely to snap with the potential to cut and harm the person holding it.
The Bible’s message is really that all of us should identify with the bruised reed. Sin damages. This is the harm we cause ourselves. But also, some of us have experienced harm from others. Harm may include physical and sexual abuse. It may also include cruel words that people have said to us.
Abuse from others may mean that we now struggle to trust others. We are afraid to take them into our confidence, we are scared of getting close lest we make ourselves vulnerable and get hurt again. Abuse may cause us to struggle with the idea of authority. We have experienced how others have used power to crush and to shame us. We may well struggle with the idea of calling God our father particularly if we have experienced abuse, cruelty and/or neglect from a parent.
If that describes you then reading the Gospel story introduces you to someone very different. Jesus is described in Isaiah 42 as the one who “will not crush the bruised reed.” Jesus comes with love and compassion for the vulnerable and oppressed. He does that in two ways.
First of all, we see Jesus as the one who comes to bring hope and healing. Jesus gets down alongside the hurting and vulnerable. Jesus shows deep compassion. Jesus promises to bind up the broken hearted. This is a promise
Secondly, Jesus is the one who steps in to defend and to speak for the vulnerable. He challenges the cruel abusers of his day speaking out against those who
“shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.”
There is a promise of justice here. Those who have hurt you in secret, those who think they have got away with it will be exposed and brought to justice by God on judgement day. His justice is real, pure and loving. It will be a justice that will bring them to account without shaming you or causing you further pain.
Read Revelation 21:1-7