Pastor John Cao’s poem reflects on “Toughness and Gentleness” Christians need

Pastor John Cao shares poems he writes while imprisoned for his faith.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)
(ChinaAid—July 09, 2021) Pastor John Cao’s poem, “Toughness and Gentleness,” included in his forthcoming book, Living Lyrics..., reflects on six kinds of toughness, and six types of gentleness Christians need.

Toughness and Gentleness

Some people say, “real tough guys also have a gentle side.”
Christians not only need six kinds of toughness,
they need six types of gentleness.
Experiencing suffering, we need tough bones.
Responding to faraway callings, we need tough legs.
Facing and overcoming temptations, we need tough minds.
Hearing defamations, we need tough ears.
Encountering idols, we need tough knees.
In pressing difficulties, we need a tough backbone.
Meeting the poor, we need a gentle heart.
Encountering the truth, we need to have a gentle intellect.
Receiving travelers, we need to have gentle hands.1

Helping the weak, we need to use gentle words.2
Following the good Shepherd, we need to be like a gentle lamb.3
Being misunderstood, we need to maintain a gentle mind.4


1. Gentle hands: Serve the guests with both hands.

2. The weak: refers to those who are weak in faith and need to be comforted with words.

3. See Jeremiah 11:19 “I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying, ‘Let us destroy the tree and its fruit; let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more.’”

4. Gentle mind: refers to having an open mind.


Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. 
Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
                                                                                                                  ~ Matthew 10:16 (NKJV)
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