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The book of Isaiah has many stinging words from God, rebuking His people for their unfaithfulness and disobedience, but when we reach Isaiah 40, we find a change in tone. There, we read, ‘Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.’ (Is 40:1)

God is not only a God of justice and judgment; He is a God of grace and mercy, and one of the ways this is manifested is through tenderness. Like any good parent, He knows when we need rebuke and when we need comfort. He is able to be kind-hearted and compassionate to us. Isaiah goes on to say,

‘Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.’ (Is 42:1-3)

In the same way that God shows tenderness and consideration to us, we need to reflect these characteristics to those around us. Tenderness costs us little but a little goes a long way.