A Real Test of Character: How do we Treat the Powerless?
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
Mat 20:24-28 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. (25) But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. (26) It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, (27) and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, (28) even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
I recently read an excellent observation: A very fundamental test of a person’s character is how that person treats people who are less powerful. For example, if someone says “no” to a person they are in relationship of some kind with, and that person has more power in some way than the one who says “no,” then how does the one who is denied react? Do they wield power to get their way and override the “no”? This is a very, very important test of character. Many abuse victims tell stories of how, early in their relationship, the abuser simply would not take no for an answer. The victim-to-be however dismissed their pang of uneasiness by telling themselves that “his/her love for me is just so strong.” We should encourage people not to dismiss this very telling character test.
None of us enjoy being told “no” when we want something. Our sin rises up against this obstruction, but if we know Christ and love others, we squelch our sin by the Spirit and don’t insist upon getting our way. [Of course there are times when we must obey God rather than men, and those are the times we must insist on our way because it is really God’s way. The apostles were told to stop speaking the name of Jesus. They didn’t accept this “no.”].
People who use power to get their way over others do the very thing Jesus commands us not to do — lord it over others rather than serving others. Such people do not respect the boundaries of others, but blast right through them. They are not safe people to be in relationship with. How a person treats people who have less power than they do is a fundamental test of a person’s real character. Watch it closely and be wise. A person who abuses power is not a person to enter into a relationship with, and especially not a person to marry. Oh that we knew what we know now a long, long time ago!