Sometime ago, at work, I was appointed into the College Exam Committee. As the secretary of the committee, I worked closely with the College Exam Officer. As an ex-soldier, everyone knew him to be a ‘no nonsense’ person. In fact, with him in office, many people (invigilators who would give every excuse in the book to skip duty) sat up! Humourously, those of us in the exam committee nicknamed him ‘Power Drunk Exam Officer’ and he answered his nickname with much relish.
However, I discovered that with all the no nonsense attitude, he was a very pleasant person to work with. There were instances where he could have used his ‘power’ to serve people queries or implicate them before higher authority (for not doing their jobs) but he would do no such thing. He was always so lenient with people even though he never appreciated or condoned lazy attitude towards assignments. Although he had a team (which he was expected to give orders to), and each individual had his/her specific task, he was always ever so ready to graciously step in and carry out any assignment. He never ordered anyone around; he never spoke/looked down on anyone. Most of all, he was very very humourous, you just had to laugh when you’re around him. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed working with ‘Power Drunk’. Yes, he was a no nonsense individual but he was so gracious, he made it so easy.
They say, “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” but that does not hold true for everyone. There are still a few good people who don’t allow their position of power and authority to get into their heads. Unfortunately, this statement holds true for most people, even we Christians, who are supposed to be an embodiment of grace and virtue. In church, at work, in the community, in the local/state/federal government, in school, somewhere, anywhere, everywhere, wherever, some individuals are given the opportunity to serve in a position of authority and what do they do? They oppress with power and worse, they are Christians who are supposed to be Christ-like!
Among other things, I believe one strong reason behind power oppression is pride, sometimes, ‘unchecked’ pride. Pride in one’s position; pride in the achievement that has brought the position; pride in the fact that one is possibly better than others, hence the position one occupies; pride, pride, pride, which is expressed in disdainful treatment of others, insolence, lofty airs, inordinate self-esteem, conceit, etc.
Jesus Christ, while He walked the surface of planet earth, was most powerful, yet most humble. If we are Christ-like, then pride should not be found anywhere near us. I believe that while Jesus sojourned here, He was firmly principled, yet with all His power and position of authority, He served His disciples and was very gracious to everyone around. Yes, we should guard ourselves with firm principles when we occupy positions of authority but we should not be so power drunk to toss grace and virtue.
“Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.” Proverbs 29:23 (NIV)
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10 (NIV)
“For though the Lord is high, yet has He respect to the lowly [bringing them into fellowship with Him]; but the proud and haughty He knows and recognizes [only] at a distance.” Psalm 138:6 (AMP)
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 (NIV)
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” Roman 12:16 (NIV)
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2 (NIV)
AyotundeElegbeleye 2015 (Originally written for ThyPreciousJewels)
Jesus is LORD!