“Power tends to corrupt.”
Lord Acton is rightly famous for his saying:
Apparently, the British baron and historian wrote this in a letter to an Anglican bishop!
Power can be dangerous. It seems to be intoxicating, causing serious lapses in moral judgment and self-control. We see it everywhere: from Roman Catholic cardinals and bishops who fail to follow their own teachings on sexual behavior, to politicians who seek personal wealth and prestige at the expense of the law and the interests of their own constituencies.
King David fell into this trap in a terrible way. He coveted another man’s wife (Bathsheba), slept with her, and had her husband – a loyal soldier – killed. It doesn’t get much worse than this. (The amazing thing is that our Bible records this horror about one of the great heroes of Hebrew history. Scripture’s honesty is refreshing…the Bible doesn’t shy away from the truth.)
- One of the symptoms of the abuse of power is the sacrifice of truth. This is one of the things that scares me so much about the present political climate: lies are being told shamelessly, without regard to objective facts. This runs contrary to Christian teaching. As Presiding Bishop Curry wrote, “We believe that truth is morally central to our personal and public lives.” The Decalogue includes the commandment: “You shall not bear false witness.”
Jesus comes to us as truth incarnate: embodied truth – put into practice in Jesus’ life and teaching. Our job is to embody truth ourselves: to resist falsehoods and prevarications, to challenge those who shamelessly lie, and to live according to the creed we profess. JBM