The issue of power

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The issue of power           

Micah 2:1-2 “Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it. They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud a man of his home, a fellow-man of his inheritance.”

Extra Reading: Micah 2: 1-5 NIV Bible.

Micah spoke out against those who planned evil deeds at night and rose at dawn to do them. A person’s thoughts and plans reflect his or her character. What do you think about as you lie down to sleep? Do your desires involve greed or stepping on others to achieve your goals? Evil thoughts lead to evil deeds. Power is troubling for many Christians. We are suspicious that its exercise violates the ethos of the Sermon on the Mount with its call for meekness and willingness to be last. Power is also easily corrupted. In Lord Acton’s well-known words, “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The more power we have, the more evil we can do, and the more likely is the devil to seek to waylay us. Power is frequently used to oppress and exploit others (James 5:1-6). Feminists call for the abolition of the power model of society. They want gender equality today! At the same time many Christians see no particular virtue in refusing to exercise power while the world and the church engage in oppression and injustice.

There is a distinction between Christians who are committed exclusively to nonviolence and those who accept just war views. Usually we end up exercising power. Some do so with sneaking guilt. Others just accept power and its consequence uncritically, whether it is coercion that lies behind most political power, the marginalizing of others produced by intellectual power or the dehumanizing that may come from applying business models to church or vice versa. There are many forms of power, including wealth, appointed office, intelligence, access to information, charisma, skill, physical strength and military means.  Biblically, all power comes from God and belongs to God (Matthew 26:64; John 19:11). The New Testament draws explicit attention to Jesus’ power: His power over all things is a manifestation of His kingdom (Mark 4:14; 5:17; 11:20-22). God’s power is delegated to human agents in the form of authority or office (Gen. 1:26-28; Psalm8:5-8).

Prayer: Father God, help us to utilize power you give to us properly. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Rev. Samuel N. Modise         

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