Abusing Authority

“So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all” (Mark 10:42-44 NLT).

“I don’t want no silly women,” I remember one of my early spiritual mentors saying during a women’s service. She went on to talk about women sitting around cackling and being clueless about how to serve in God’s kingdom. A hush fell on the room, as if every woman was contemplating if she was a silly woman. My mentor had the power and authority to challenge us: she was our pastor and she spoke biblically (2 Timothy 3:1-7). I understood what she was saying, and I was with her. I even started adding items in my mind: “And yeah, don’t be no weak, wimpy, whiny woman.” We have to be strong in order to take God’s kingdom by force and snatch people from the gates of hell. But while we need to be strong in the power and authority of Christ, and we need to tell that to those we’re leading, we have to be careful how we tell them (in what voice tone) and how we get them to act upon what we tell them (with what persuasive methods).

As we continue to talk about control we must find a balance. The balance is not just between taking your rightful place with the authority and power Christ has given you and taking someone else’s place. We also have to contemplate how we are exercising the authority that we have been given. Any leader, whether spiritual or secular, in the workplace or in the home, has to lead in an encouraging way, even if the words themselves cut like a sword (Hebrews 4:12; Proverbs 27:6). Threatening tactics, like loss of position if your personal needs aren’t met; telling or implying to followers that you are their only authority; or speaking harshly because you think your position allows you to, are simply abuse. Let it not be said that you are abusive and call yourself a strong black woman. Abusing authority is just as bad as taking someone else’s authority and that gives God and women who are strong in the Lord a bad name.

Copyright 2009 By Rhonda J. Smith

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