Soft and Strong

This morning when I sat down at my desk, I glanced at the box of yellow Puff tissues sitting to my right. I’d seen them many times. But this morning the words along the bottom of the tissue box summoned my attention as though I’d never seen them before.Kleenex tissues

“Soft and Strong.”

What unusual words to place “and” between.

When I think of soft I often picture a cuddly teddy bear, especially the pink one that sits in the basket in my office. The smooth texture of the nap is so inviting and calming. But I also reason that if it is soft it is likely to be weak. Certainly it can’t be both soft and strong!

When I think of strong I usually pair it with words like tough or hard. Not soft. Nonetheless, on the box of Puffs these two words were linked together.

Soft and strong describe who and what I aspire to be. I want to be soft, tender, gentle and compassionate toward people. Yet I also want to be strong, bold, resilient and confident. But how do I do that? How do I become like the Puff tissues claim they are?

I only need to look to Jesus for my example. Although we don’t usually describe Him as soft, we do know He was gentle and tender and compassionate. Remember how He treated the children and the adulterous woman and the many whom He healed?

Jesus was also strong. He didn’t mince words with the hypocritical Pharisees. He cleared out the temple in holy anger – two times. He knew His true identity as the Son of God and lived it out. He carried His cross and died on that cross. Jesus was no weakling.

Jesus was both soft and strong. John 1:14 describes Him this way: full of grace and truth. For me it’s much easier to be one or the other; but Jesus lived out both.

I wonder if Puffs took their inspiration from Jesus. Probably not, but He is a perfect example of their slogan.

Jesus – You were full of grace and truth when You walked the earth. You were kind and tender as well as bold and confident. You were both soft and strong. I want to be like You. Give me a heart as tender and compassionate as Yours. And give me the confidence You had so I, too, can live boldly from my true identity in You. Please make me soft and strong.

©2015 Deborah Simon, LCPC, Executive Director
GateWay of Hope – The Helping Place for Hurting Women