Strength and Influence in Christianity
By Sebastian Hersey
A large part of a person’s worldview consists of their religion (or lack thereof) or the religion of their family or community. I am a Christian, grew up in a Christian family and have attended a Christian school all my life.
One topic that the Bible talks about a lot is power and influence. The Bible gives examples of the correct use of power and it gives examples of the abuse of power. Jesus talked about power and set an example of what leadership should be. From reading the Bible and growing up in a Christian environment, I have learned that the Bible’s views of power and influence often contradict how the rich and powerful usually use their power, emphasizing the need to protect and protect the powerless The rich and the rich to criticize powerfully.
In reality, power is often viewed or used as a commodity. Power is seen as something to be achieved, and often people are not satisfied with the amount of power they have. As Lord Acton’s famous quote goes, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” In modern times, this often manifests itself in the form of wealth as the richest continue to amass wealth and increase their power. However, the Bible has a very different view of how power should be used. In the Bible, power and wealth are not things that can be usurped. In Luke 14:11, Jesus says, “For everyone who exalts himself is humbled, and whoever humbles himself is exalted.” In Christianity, it is not the job of people to be ambitious and reach for power. The Bible also claims at 1 Timothy 6:10 that “the love of money is the root of all evil,” and since power and influence today are largely based on wealth, the values of Christianity contradict worldly standards. I try not to get too bogged down with possessions in my own life and I think it is important not to make material goods your priority.
The early church also provides examples of the Christian view of power and influence. James 2 warns against giving preference and treating people with money and influence better than the poor and disenfranchised. James 2: 1-6 says: “My brothers and sisters who believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favor. Suppose a man walks into your meeting with a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in dirty old clothes walks in too. but say to the poor man: “You stand there” or “Sit on the ground at my feet”, did you not differ and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters, did not God choose those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised to those who love him? ”The early Church lived in a manner in which they were all equal, as described in Acts 4: 34-35: “There was no needy among them, for so many owners of land or houses they sold and brought in the proceeds of that was sold and placed at the apostles’ feet and distributed to whoever needed it. ”The early Church preached equality and lived in ways that exemplified it. Jesus, the leader of Christianity, even washed the feet of his disciples. Christian notions of power and influence have traditionally been that leadership should be expressed through service, that people in power should not abuse it, and that people should be treated equally. In my everyday life I deal with people who have a different social position than I do. I try to imitate Jesus and treat everyone equally, regardless.
These are the views I have about power and influence. They are based on the values that the Bible teaches and promotes. My views are also shaped by the country I live in: Haiti. Haiti is a country that is struggling with inequality and poverty, as well as political unrest. Protests and riots often disrupt public life, even for a period of around four months in late 2019 when all schools were closed. Poverty is undoubtedly a key catalyst for such unrest, as people are more likely to take action against those in power when they are personally suffering. The government often does not react and the quality of life continues to stagnate. Seeing such unrest all my life has reinforced the faith I have received from Christianity as I have seen people in power fail to use it properly and fail to help those without power. Christianity taught me that they should and Christianity taught me that people should be treated equally. Those in power should use it to help those who don’t, rather than use it to enrich themselves. Everyone should be respected in everyday life, regardless of their wealth or status.
Power and influence are issues that are treated differently around the world, from oligarchies where power is less firmly established in the hands to democracies where people can make their voices heard and regulate opinions about how power is regulated should be broad and who should have access to it. I have learned from my religion and what I have witnessed that those in power should be compassionate and to treat the powerless as equal, and I have learned that the powerless should be given more freedom and opportunities to be heard and influence the world.
Sebastian Hersey is an 11th grader from Quisqueya Christian School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, who is interested in writing, sports, reading and the world.
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