Power and Responsibility

Long before Spiderman, Franklind D Rosevelt and Winston Churchill, Voltaire said,

With great power comes great responsibility,

He saw the abuse of power and privilege of those in power, whilst the poor and less privileged suffered.  It disturbed him, and he had to say something.

Similar to Jeremiah…

Jeremiah 23:1-6 (CEV)

A Message of Hope

The Lord said:

23 You leaders of my people are like shepherds that kill and scatter the sheep. You were supposed to take care of my people, but instead you chased them away. So now I’ll really take care of you, and believe me, you will pay for your crimes!

I will bring the rest of my people home from the lands where I have scattered them, and they will grow into a mighty nation. I promise to choose leaders who will care for them like real shepherds. All of my people will be there, and they will never again be frightened.

Someday I will appoint
an honest king
    from the family of David,
a king who will be wise
    and rule with justice.
As long as he is king,
Israel will have peace,
    and Judah will be safe.
The name of this king will be
    “The Lord Gives Justice.”

This passage is called “A Message of Hope”.  To the leaders it is anything but.

They have been given the responsibility of looking after the people, tending them, caring for them, protecting them.  Yet they have done anything but.  Rather than tending those they have responsibility for, they have scattered them.  They have failed in their responsibility, having been more interested in the power.  For that they will have to take responsibility, to be held to account for what they have not done – and what they have done wrongly.  Because God cares about these things.

But for those who have been let down, there is a message of hope.

People may have let you down, particularly the leaders who have responsibility to care for you, but God doesn’t.  He promises a time when you will no longer be frightened.  One day there will be honesty and justice – when God returns to rule.

I can’t help thinking this passage has so much to say to our current society.  Successive leaders in government and elsewhere have let down those they were meant to care for.  They have been more interested in the power than the responsibility.  One only has to watch any interview between politicians, of any party.  All sides have become more concerned by scoring points and hearing the sound of their own voices than offering us any positive solutions – and I speak as someone who has long stood up for the responsibility of using our vote to make a difference.

Meanwhile, many are frightened – for their future, their homes, their health, their life…

We don’t want to hear you shouting, we want to hear a sensible and practical solution, whoever you are.  Dont’ tell us what they’ve done wrong and gloat in it, tell us what you are going to do to make it right.  Or if you don’t know, then ask those who do – AND LISTEN.

Oh, I seem to have become very ranty on here… 🙂 Oh well, I think God was quite cross with these leaders in Jeremiah’s day.  Because God cares about these things.

However, before we become all self-righteous and pointing the finger at ‘them’, what about me?

When have I let people down?  Failed to listen?  Sent people scattering?  Been more interested in any power I have than any responsibility I should show?

Because God is looking at me too…  And God cares about these things.

I love this hymn.  It may feature many times in the next few weeks, because however weary we are of waiting, God promises that he is on his way to sort things out.  It’s one of those hymns that keeps me going.

Thank you Lord
for your promises,
your hope.
That you will return
to sort the world out,
you will restore justice,
take away fear,
bring peace and safety.

Forgive me Lord
the times I have failed
in my responsibilities,
let down those I care for,
scattered those I should hold tight,
and been more interested in power.

I pray
for all those in positions of responsibility.
May they seek to serve,
to care,
to bring justice
and peace,
that all may live lives
free from fear
and despair.
Grant to them wisdom,
integrity
and the strength to serve.

May we all
seek responsibility
and not power.

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