All Power and Control Regimes Share the Same Basic Characteristics
Matthew 20:25-28 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.”
My wife is getting used to it. We just settle down for the night, my brain starts working, and I say “I have to get up and write this idea down or I will lose it.” That is what happened tonight. So here I am, writing.
Here is the big idea: all structures that rule by power and control, whether they be monarchies or the Third Reich, or ruthless corporations (not all corporations are ruthless), or churches gone wrong or families gone wrong, are characterized by some very similar if not identical attitudes and tactics. What Hitler did to enslave a nation, an abuser does to enslave his victims. Not all power and control are evil. A government without any power or control is no good to anyone and becomes nothing but anarchy. Within the limits and for the purposes that God has granted individuals and institutions power and control, they are a blessing. The civil magistrate (Romans 13) when operating as the Lord ordains, becomes a source of fear for evil doers and a blessing for our good. But malevolent power and control is what we are speaking of here. And it always is characterized by certain basic, common attitudes and tactics. It is not to be so in the kingdom of God. It is not to be so in the Christian church. Jesus said so, “It shall not be so among you.”
If you are an abuse victim, you know these all too well. Let’s see if I can name some here and then you can no doubt add some more through your comments:
1) The Power is always, always right. It must never be questioned.
2) If what the Power says does not sound right, it is still right and you are wrong.
3) By virtue of the fact that the Power says or does something, that word or action is necessarily true and right.
4) The Power uses threats and force to ensure compliance to its directives.
5) All resistance to and questioning of the Power must be squelched.
6) The Power uses propaganda and mind-games to instill confusion and self-doubt in those it controls.
7) The Power claims God as its ally and thus insists that it is divinely established.
8) If a target persists in refusing to be controlled, the Power will kill the targeted person.
9) The Power wears a kind, benevolent face in public to gain the naive as allies.
10) The Power must have worship. All must bow before it or be cast into the fiery furnace.
It is NOT to be so among Christ’s people. Never, never, never. Our churches are to be places where the least is the greatest – only no one in the church knows it! That is just how it is. In a real church of the Lord Jesus Christ, in other words, a power broker will know he just doesn’t fit in, and he is not going to get what he wants.
Dan 3:4-6 And the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, (5) that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. (6) And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.”