Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin. John 19:10-11
Over the years and of course in our present climate, I have watched and noticed politicians, preachers and business leaders wield power and authority in a way that belittles others and inflames selfish pride in the process. These leaders we at times find being very self serving and disrespectful to those who disagree with them, so much to the point that power becomes an ugly show of dismissing principled leadership to justify preferred outcomes. It makes me want to holla and throw up both my hands. This blatant abuse of power and authority should grieve and convict those who fear and want to honor God in their life and leadership as all of us lead in someway. There is an assurance that helps me and that is this: One day He will call the abuser into account, which is how the Lord works.
When powerful people dishonor honorable people, people of principle must do something. Choosing principled living over a power play of narcissistic living is a believers calling.
I look Jesus calls out the government leader of His day who wrongly and arrogantly thought he held all of the power because of his political position. Assigned by Tiberius to be governor over Judaea, Pontius Pilate presided over the trial of Jesus and gave the order for our Lord to be crucified. While attempting to wash his hands of his decision to dishonor and kill an innocent man, he was reminded by Jesus that all power is from God, on loan to leaders on earth. If that divinely given power is abused there is and will be consequences, as God works through the misuse of power to bring about His will for principled living, and through Jesus, the salvation of humanity.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:9-10).
Do you see the use of power delegated to you by God to be used for the Lord’s purposes? Or, do you subtly use power to advance your agenda, wrecking relationships in the process? The lie is to think that the outcomes seen as positive are justified, even though they are the result of unprincipled, even illegal methods used to make things happen. What a short sighted, self serving approach to life, to dismiss the divine in order to achieve my agenda, my way, in my power. Humility waits on God in principled living, while pride powers through on a destructive path.
Or, maybe you feel the pain of another’s abuse of power. Perhaps your home, work or community does not have a culture of servant leadership, but rather a fear based environment facilitated by faithless, fear based leaders. If so, have the hard conversations and risk feeling ignored and dishonored when you disagree or suggest waiting to make the wisest decisions. A bully in power needs a bold taste of reality by your vulnerability in delivering the truth. God overcomes power with your principled living.
“Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way” (Hebrews 13:18).