It can be difficult not to reduce someone to a single attribute we like or dislike. We describe someone as being patient or angry, as if that is all they are. But even patient people will admit to being exasperated and people who are sometimes angry are also sometimes at peace (if only when asleep!).

This same kind of reductionism is applied to Jesus all the time. Some would have you think Jesus is only kind, only understanding, or only loving. Meanwhile there are others who portray a much different Jesus. Their Jesus is white-hot holy, righteous, and at times, angry.

I understand the difficulty. It’s impossible to adequately describe an incomprehensible being. I get it. But at the same time a caution is in order. Jesus is never the way you describe him. At least not totally.

In a letter dated January 16, 1959, C. S. Lewis writes to Edward Lofstrom and with a reference to the Pensées of Christian philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, he reminds us to be careful,

“’Gentle Jesus,’ my elbow! The most striking thing about Our Lord is the union of great ferocity with extreme tenderness. (Remember Pascal? ‘I do not admire the extreme of one virtue unless you show me at the same time the extreme of the opposite virtue. One shows one’s greatness not by being at an extremity but by being simultaneously at two extremes and filling all the space between’).”1

Herein lies a description of Jesus. Consistently in the center of all extremes. May we go and attempt to do likewise.

“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” – Colossians 2:9.

Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 1011. Italics in original.

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