Thursday, November 10, 2011
Lord Acton is credited with the quote, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Our nation has been gripped by examples of the force of power. Herman Cain, one of the front-runners in the GOP presidential candidate race, has been accused of using his position of power to sexually harass women in the workplace. It has been grueling to listen to the charges leveled against him.
And – all eyes are on Happy Valley, Pennsylvania as one of the nation’s most respected athletic programs now is reeling in the wake of the explosive news that one of Joe Paterno’s long-time assistants is alleged to have engaged in several acts of the sexual abuse of children. It is awful. Each successive report seems to give more graphic details in a sordid chain of events that allegedly has occurred over the course of years at the revered Penn State University.
I have no idea how much of any of this is true. I don’t know what Herman Cain has done or has not done. I don’t know for sure what has happened at Penn State. However, I do know that the abuse of power is nothing new to the human race. Fallen humans have a difficult time in stewarding power in productive and healthy means. It is easy to exert power over others in ways that victimize the weak and vulnerable members of society.
All of this is another reminder to me of just how broken humanity really is. Innocent children and adults suffer every day due to the abuse of power by those who are in power. Many of these victims suffer in silence because their voice has never been heard. Or, because their voice has been silenced by those who know better.
All of this to say – we need to be good stewards of the power entrusted to us. Are you in a position of power? Are you a boss, leader, employer, etc.? If so, how are you handling your position of power? Are you striving to be Christ-like in your exercise of the duties associated with your position? Are you sensitive to the needs of those who are less powerful? Are you self-critical and self-aware as you exert influence?
For those of us who are in positions of power, may we be guided by the Spirit of God and may our actions be tempered by the grace of God.