I will begin this post by saying that I do not understand all that the Bible says and I will probably never will. I don't post about serious things very often because I am just sure that I am not understanding something the way that it is really meant to be understood. However, last night at church our pastor used an illustration that was so clear and so beautiful that I have to share it here. I really don't know that I will be able to do it justice.
The lesson was on guarding our hearts against guilt. I could say so much, but I will limit it to this illustration that he used in his closing.
The verse used was Matthew 12:20 - A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgement unto victory. (KJV)
He talked about how a shepherd would go to the river to find a reed that he could whittle into a flute so that he could call his sheep and they would come to him. In the process of finding the perfect reed, he would come across reeds that were bent, or broken, and he would rip them up from the ground and throw them out of the way until he found just the right reed that he could use.
Then he told of how the flax (or wick) in a lantern would smoke up a tent or room when lit, if it was bad. People would take the wick and toss it out and replace it with a new one that would give off the light that it was meant to give.
He then told us how God grants mercy to the bruised reed and will take and guide it and nurture it until it grows up past the bent and broken parts and becomes a healthy reed again. After that he will whittle away the broken parts so that it can be used. The wick, God will trim and trim some more until it is able to give off the light that it was meant to give. He does not toss them away, he works with them so that they can be used, just as He does with us. He guides us, trims us, whittles away the "bent and broken" parts and then uses us for His glory.
We have been bruised, bent and broken. I think it's probably safe to say that we have all "smoked up" a room or two! The good news is that God's mercy is greater than any sin. We must make the choice as to whether or not we want to accept that mercy in our failures so that we may be used for His glory.
I am thankful for God's mercy.