The Right Use of Power
Here is the first verse of my song The Power is in the Kiss:
The power is not in a top down ultimatum / It’s not in the angry raising of your fist / The power is not in your well defended position / Real power, purest power is in the kiss.
In many arenas of society in the past year we have seen a lot of what I describe as the “wrong use of power.” Actions such as “top down ultimatums" and "angry raising of your fist" flow from a belief that “I am right and I am going to exert my power to get my way, even if it means I will dominate you and show violence in doing so.”
We live in a time marked by violent clashes between people and groups. In politics, racial issues, there is much verbal and emotional and physical abuse. I see this as the wrong use of power. All of us as individuals have influence. Influence is akin to power. We can each use our power to be helpful, kind and considerate. Or we can use it in a self-serving way.
I prefer a very different kind of power than we see in some of our modern-day clash between people of different social, ethnic and cultural groups. The only way to correctly use power is when it’s motivated by love. How about this description of love:
“Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. 5 Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. 6 Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. 7 Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up*.”
If we could see everyone else through the lens of this kind of love, we would have much less conflict. History shows how effective this kind of love and power can be.
Here are the lyrics from the bridge of “The Power is in the Kiss.”
It’s the power of love reaching across the great divide
Embracing the lonely ones on the other side
It’s the power of the peaceful dove
The power of an open door
The power of an outstretched hand
Giving help to the weak and poor
The power of real surrender, it’s the power of letting go
It’s the weakness of an earthen vessel,
Filled with power, purest power from above
In all kinds of relationships, surrendering our power, or letting other people have their way is often the right choice. This is how I approach my relationship with Linda, my wife. It’s also the way I try to behave in my interactions with friends, co-workers and strangers in the marketplace.
Though we don’t automatically allow ourselves to be run over or abused, at the very least we are called to show love and respect at all times to all people, no matter what background they come from, no matter what beliefs they hold.
*(taken from the Passion Translation of the book of 1 Corinthians, New Testament).