Proverbs 18:14

A man’s spirit will endure sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?

Undoubtedly many reading this proverb will sadly nod in agreement because of your own crushed spirit. The weight of depression, of anxiety, of feeling unloved feels unbearable and you focus on merely surviving each day. This proverb lets you know that God understands. It is placed in Scripture for you to know that you do not suffer alone. God is with you and even now is bearing your great weight. You are not alone as a sufferer. Many others throughout the ages and in the present have known the “crushed spirit.” Stop at this very moment and offer a prayer for those whose spirits are crushed.

All the more reason it is so important to be about the business of encouraging others. Husbands are told not to be harsh with their wives and do not discourage their children (Colossians 3:19, 21). Why? Because such behavior crushes their spirits. So it is in all relationships. Venting anger and criticizing freely crushes. And we willingly crush the spirits of our brothers and sisters all the while claiming to do so for their good because telling the truth is what matters most. We are to speak the truth, but we are to speak the truth in love with the intent to build up one another in Christ (Ephesians 4:15-16). And if we must correct a brother or sister of sin then we are to do so in a spirit of gentleness (Galatians 6:1).

Examine your heart today especially in your relationship with those closest to you. Are you building up those closest to you or crushing their spirit? Remember your Lord of whom it was said “a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench” (Isaiah 42:3). Surely he had cause to crush you for your sin and yet chose to become crushed himself (Isaiah 53:5) that your spirit might live.

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