In 1887, in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, John Dalberg-Acton (commonly referred to as Lord Acton) wrote:
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.”
The human heart is prone to all kinds of mischief. It is so easy to rationalize our own sins, making excuses for our own bad behavior. We learn from early childhood to shift blame to others. How many times have we heard our children blame their own actions on their brother or sister?
How many times have we ourselves tried to find excuses for our failure to “do the right thing” in difficult circumstances? Human nature always looks out for number one.
Yet, our conscience, despises that attribute when we see it exhibited by someone else. We scoff and say “He is only looking out for number one. He can’t be trusted.”
Lord Acton’s observation is now taken as a maxim universally acknowledged as true.
As we observe those in leadership in the political realm it is commonplace to see politicians exhibit their inner nature.
Luke 6:45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
How many politicians use “inside information” (knowledge of soon to be revealed legislation that may affect a single industry) to make stock market moves in order to protect or enhance their own investments?
This question was asked in 2012 when legislation passed the Senate 96-3 in prohibiting that activity. But are WE any less susceptible to sin?
I think not. Although scripture clearly teaches us that the heart of man is bent toward sin we try to pretend it is not, because we hate to face our own sin. So it should not come as a surprise that those people who rise into the top echelons of the corridors of power should struggle with a sinful heart. The problem is that because they ARE at the top echelons of power they can use their authority to wreak much more havoc in other peoples lives.
There has been ONLY ONE person on the entire planet who had absolute power, and absolute authority, who did not sin because of it. His name was Jesus Christ.
So what is the point of this post? Whether we are at the bottom or at the top of any given power structure we will still answer to God for our actions. Unless we have repented of our sins and asked Jesus to take control of our life, then on Judgement Day there will be no hope of exoneration. We can use all the justifications, rationalisations, and excuses for our sin and in the end we will be without excuse. We will be laid bare before a holy and just God who sees into our heart and sees our true motivations. We can lie to ourselves but lying to God is IMPOSSIBLE.
For those who are not “in Jesus” it is a “fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God”. If you are not yet “right with God” if you have not yet opened your heart to Him and asked Him in, do so today. There was never a better time.