Was Jesus just an extremely kind man

"Jesus had the greatest authority in the world, but he was kind, gentle and full of grace"

Thoughts from General André Cox, Head of the International Salvation Army, on the strength of God and the strength of Christians.

“Today I want to think about the aspect of strength.

We humans are impressed by strength. Young men in particular love to exercise and build their muscles so that they will be seen as strong. Around the globe we see people who give themselves the appearance of strength - through their position, their wealth and the accumulation of power. Sadly, however, we all too often see that strength can quickly turn into corruption and unfair overreaching.

Strength is very necessary, but only if used in the right way. It takes strength to do what we think is right. It takes strength to admit your weakness and failure. It takes strength to stand up for someone else, even if it exposes you to criticism.

Of course, it is easy to think of ourselves as strong, as Martin Luther King wrote: Ultimately, humans will not be measured in times of wellbeing but in times of challenge and resistance.

How much do we need Christians who are steadfast even in times of challenge and resistance: strong in clinging to our values, strong in protecting the weak, strong in resisting evil, strong in resisting temptation, strong in walking the path of faith without accepting sway. Unfortunately, even within the Church, we are often disappointed by people who fall into temptation and use their strength to gain personal gain or to pursue a dubious agenda.

It is of the greatest importance for Christians, and therefore for the Church, to use strength only to do the right thing. The Salvation Army founder General William Booth has embedded his prayer for strength in the following song:

For strength to always do the right thing
For grace to win in battle
For strength to walk through the world with a pure heart
Send the fire!
(SASB 326)

God is not weak. The power of the wind, the strength of an earthquake, the destructive power of fire bear witness to this. Yet there is more authority in God's low voice than in all of these manifestations combined.

Even so, Christians can seem weak in the worldly sense. Turning the other cheek and refusing to be involved in corrupt activities can be misunderstood as a lack of strength. But meekness is not weakness! Jesus had the greatest authority in the world, but he was kind, meek, and full of grace.

If we respect God's strength, we can be sure that His mighty power can work in and through us and achieve infinitely more than we ask or understand (Ephesians 3:20). In His strength we can defeat the enemy!

Songwriter Sydney Cox (SASB 25) put his trust in the strength of God in the following song:

Though I can't understand
Such a love, so big, so deep
I entrust my soul to his strong hands
He will never drop her.

Commissioner Silvia and I pray that we will all be able to master this challenge. "

General André Cox / Translation: The editorial staff

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