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, the wicked man 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:
- The Power is always, always right. It must never be questioned.
- If what the Power says does not sound right, it is still right and you are wrong.
- By virtue of the fact that the Power says or does something, that word or action is necessarily true and right.
- The Power uses threats and force to ensure compliance to its directives.
- All resistance to and questioning of the Power must be squelched.
- The Power uses propaganda and mind-games to instill confusion and self-doubt in those it controls.
- The Power claims God as its ally and thus insists that it is divinely established.
- If a target persists in refusing to be controlled, the Power will kill the targeted person.
- The Power wears a kind, benevolent face in public to gain the naive as allies.
- 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.”
Yes, that is ABUSE of power, not true power. True power is in serving others.
A very accurate list.
The power lies, by disregarding, distorting, and denying the truth. The power pretends that it is not the case that 1) God is in charge, 2) God is good, and 3) God will judge.
In Berlin there is an exhibition at the site of the former headquarters of Hitler’s secret police, the Gestapo, illustrating (with captions in many languages) how Hitler controlled the German population. Within the first few weeks after he had seized power, he had hundreds of torture chambers for dissidents set up in Berlin alone. And concentration camps were not only for Jews but for the German opposition, of course! Conditions in those concentration camps for Germans were so bad that 70% of the inmates died within half a year. In addition, the German population had been groomed to accept a totalitarian dictator by the parenting style child psychologist Alice Miller called “poisonous pedagogy”, which essentially consisted in breaking a child’s will. I notice a very similar, pervasive hyper-authoritarian tendency in the contemporary American church. This makes me wonder what American Christians are being groomed for — perhaps the reign of the Antichrist?
.I had never heard of Alice Miller so I did some research…it seems the OPPOSITE is true of Alice Miller…
“Alice Miller, the former psychoanalyst, has gained world renown for her
controversial and provocative writings on child rearing. Miller contends that
traditional child rearing practices—in schools, ecclesiastical settings, and the
family—consist of physical and emotional cruelty that she labels “poisonous
pedagogy.” According to Miller, children who are subjected to such treatment
have no recourse other than to repress their anger, rage and resentment for their
abusive parents. ”
And I don’t see how this could be true…”In addition, the German population had been groomed to accept a totalitarian dictator by the parenting style child psychologist Alice Miller” as Alice was born in 1923 and Hitler became Chancellor in 1933 when Alice was only 10 years old. Indeed WW2 ended in 1945 when Alice was only 22.
Megan- thank you for your research! Good job.
Gray Rock…terribly sorry…I just reread your post and realised that Alice Miller merely described poisonous pedagogy…she did not believe in it!
Another tactic of abusive power is to project and accuse the target of the very wrong-doing that the abusive power is engaged in themselves. The abusive power is literally blind to its own blatant hypocrisy and no amount of reason or facts can change their own virtuous perception of themselves. (Maybe it takes a regenerate heart to lay down all pride and see our hopeless human condition without Christ?)