Jesus is the perfect, balanced combination of firm and gentle.
A few weeks ago I went to my regular appointment with the dental hygienist. As usual she used a high-tech, zapping tool to remove plaque, a tool that causes pain. But she does it with precision and gentleness, and my gums are better for it.
I’ve had other dental hygienists who seemed to be oblivious to the pain they were causing.
Why does God let me suffer?
Doctors, coaches, parents, teachers, leaders, and military commanders often have to say and do things that cause pain. They have to give tough love.
Jesus as Lord is in the role that requires the most of this sort of tough love. But Jesus wants to reassure us that when he brings tough love he will be as gentle as possible.
He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).
Jesus is gentle.
He is not oblivious to our pain.
Jesus is not rough like a careless or clueless or insensitive or cruel person.
Jesus will be as strong and firm as he needs to be in our lives, unlike misguided leaders who are too gentle and unwilling to cause pain even if that is what is needed to bring good. When necessary, Jesus will rebuke and discipline us. He will tell us the truth straight up. He will call sin sin.
But he will do it with love. He will cause no more pain than necessary, for no longer than necessary. He has suffered more than any human, and he is keenly aware of any pain we experience.
And he will comfort, console, and restore us. For his purpose is our good.
Jesus is the perfect, balanced combination of firm and gentle. Even when it hurts, we can trust in him without fear.
That’s because he is love. He is always seeking our good.