Christians and Power

An evangelical reflects:

When I see a leader who becomes stubborn and rigid, who becomes increasingly less compassionate toward his adversaries, increasingly tyrannical in his own organization, who rouses anger and arrogance in others, I wonder if he is not generating all of this heat because he is trying so hard to say 'no' to something surging deep within his own soul. Are his words and deeds not so much directed against an enemy 'out there' as they are against a much more cunning enemy within his own soul. More than once I have visited with pastors who have spent hours immersed in pornography and then gone on to preach their most 'spirit-filled' sermons against immorality a day or two later. It’s a disconnect that boggles the rational mind.

No amount of accountability seems to be adequate to contain a person living with such inner conflict. Neither can it contain a person who needs continuous adrenaline highs to trump the highs of yesterday. Maybe this is one of the geniuses of Jesus: he knew when to stop, how to refuse the cocktail of privilege, fame and applause that distorts one’s ability to think wisely and to master self.

Yes, Jesus knew when to stop. He renounced all earthly power for the cross - to prove God's love and forgiveness. He could have led a political movement. He refused to. His refusal is at the heart of his message. And all Christians - of all kinds and varieties - need to follow his example again.