The news is filled with the outrageous behaviors of people like Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer and executive who used his power and position for personal gain and sensual pleasure. It may be easy to dismiss such outlandish behavior but maybe we should use the news to do some self-reflection.
When I thought about Mr. Weinstein’s actions I realized I may be more like him than I want to admit. I too have used my role as husband and father for selfish purposes.
At times I have yelled at my children so that I could have a moment of peace, revealing my true desire to put my needs and wants first. At times I have used the silent treatment with my wife, demonstrating a childish behavior to force my wife to seek me out. And at times I have used a guilt trip with my family as a way to force them do what I want. It is not a pretty picture.
Why would Mr. Weinstein, and more importantly, why would I do such a thing? If I am honest, it is because I have made the feeling of being in control primary in my life.
Maybe that is why so many of us like the military. The structure and promotion system give us the sense we have control of our future (though we know the more rank we achieve the less control we actually have). This desire may look much cleaner than the case of Mr. Weinstein, but the heart issue is just as poisonous.
John, one of Jesus’ disciples struggled with this need to control others. He told Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us” (Mark 9:38, NASB).
Why would he want to stop someone from doing good? According to John, they were not doing it the right way. Jesus had to rebuke him (and the others) by reminding him that the person “who is not against us is for us,” (verse 40).
Ironically, the disciples were taught just moments before that “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all,” (verse 35).
None of us like being treated as servants, because servants are not in control. Maybe it comes down to this: being in control means we can personally guarantee our safety and security. Safety and security are important, and two virtues that military members rightly defend with our lives. But God calls us to be safe and secure in a very different way. He lays out a path where true safety and security come through submission to His sovereign control and commitment to live by His Word.
So how do we move past power trips and autocratic family rules?
We must admit that life is not about power and control because that will only lead to a destructive lifestyle that hurts those we care about.
We must commit to a life that serves the Living and True God, for even Christ came to serve and not be served (Mark 10:45). We can then properly take responsibility for the gifts, talents, and people God has entrusted to us.
Jesus said it this way, we are called to be like those “who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks,” (Luke 12:36). In a way it is like having a posture of readiness for a surprise inspection that comes from your chain of command.
How will you do when your Commander comes with His checklist in hand (the Bible)?
If you have failed in this regard, today is the day to make it right. Seek forgiveness from God, and know that He will cleanse you from all sins through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus (1 John 1:9). Next seek forgiveness from your spouse and family to restore the relationship that God has designed for your good. Finally, devote yourself to being a servant like Jesus.