Love of power or the power of love?

October 21, 2020 · Print This Article

Ever since humans walked this earth, we have loved power. At its most extreme you see it in dictators who use power ruthlessly to kill, torture or imprison their enemies, or anyone who they perceive as a threat to their position. They will often erect monuments to themselves all over the country they rule and live in the lap of luxury while their people live bleak, impoverished lives. In some cases, dictators will even let their people starve.

Many would say that the North Korean Dictator, Kim-Jong-Un, is a classic example of that today, but he is not alone. President Xi of China, President Putin of Russia and President Erdogan of Turkey are all leaders who demand obedience from their people. The Russian President is even accused of having his enemies murdered in other countries.

China has locked up around a million Muslims in what we would call concentration camps but they call re-education centres, to eliminate their ethnic background and religion, making them loyal citizens of the Chinese State. Then you think of names like Saddem Hussain, Colonel Ghadaffi, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Stalin, Hitler, Mugabe and a few others, all dictators who loved power and used it in the wrong way, even if some of them had a facade of democratic legitimacy. Even in so-called free and democratic countries, with checks and balances on the power of the leader, you can see the love and misuse of power.

Often a dictator will have charisma, a powerful personality, potentially attractive policies and appear to be the answer to a country’s problems. But once in power their main focus and desire is to stay in power at whatever cost. To have people worship them, even if that means bussing in crowds to shout approval and applaud the great man when he speaks!

The extreme love of power is often manifest in leaders of governments, but you can also see it in people with power in the business and commercial world to a greater or lesser extent. As the saying goes power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely! But to me it also seems that humanity wants strong and powerful leaders, people who, in a sense, are larger than life. We want to follow people who seem to know where they are going; who are strong, powerful and selling a vision that they are the answer to all our problems.

So I wonder whether anyone would follow a leader who is not like that? Who would follow a leader who never had a fight, never led an army, never held a position of power or in government? Who will follow a leader who was gentle and kind, a person who was so submissive he allowed himself to be crucified at the hand of the Romans, dying a horrendous death? Who will follow a leader who had no love of power but had the power of love? And by doing do so ushered in a new way of leading, by being a servant?

Have you ever heard of a leader who after leading a small, insignificant group of people died by way of crucifixion to then become the leader of the largest following in the history of humanity? How many people after their death have become more famous than when they were alive to the extent that they have an estimated 2.4 billion followers today?

You may already be there; the answer is of course a person called Jesus Christ, who Christians claim was resurrected after his death, was God in the flesh and has the power to create and sustain the universe. But through the power of love, not the love of power, Jesus showed us a very different way.

Christians will tell you that he is coming back to earth, in love, to rule humanity in a way that loves and serves. It is a big statement; what do you think? If what Christians say is true will you be ready to respond to the power of love?

Keith Hartrick

Keith is an editor at Because

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