“Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.” Carl Jung
Do you struggle with the conflict between love and power? How does that manifest in your life? What must happen for you to choose love over power?
Recently, we have seen far too many examples of the ruthless use of power. The consequences of the recent government shutdown hurt many citizens who on a normal day work for the government. People risked losing their homes, had to seek food for their families at food pantries that usually serve only the poor, and did not have the money to pay their bills.
Why did this happen? Because the power to control others has become the dominant motivation of many in our government, rather than using their power to serve those who elected them. Where is the caring, love, and devotion to service that we expect from those we elect?
A VOICE FROM THE PAST
About a month ago, I was cleaning out a closet and found an old album of my high school years. It was falling apart and there were some things I didn’t want to keep so I threw them out. Others were mementos I wanted to keep so I transferred them to a new notebook. But among the items I found, the one that surprised me the most was an essay I had written during my junior year in high school.
I had gotten a “A” on it, but I usually made good grades on essays. So why had I kept this one? Was it just a coincidence that I found it at this time? As I read it, I was shocked by how relevant it was. Every day we either read, hear about or experience the prejudice and horrendous treatment of minorities and immigrants and the persistent inequality toward women.
I don’t like to write about politics on this blog, but I believe this essay makes an important point for us to remember as we navigate today’s muddy waters.
THE SLAVE DRIVER WILL BECOME THE SLAVE
Written November 17, 1960
Those who believe themselves to be supreme cannot endure. Any man who is so self-righteous is defying the moral laws given to us by a just and true God. The man who believes he is master of all will fail in the end, for his thinking has become twisted by selfishness, prejudice, and ignorance.
The American Civil War resulted in the abolition of the southern confederacy. The Southerners had been the masters of slavery, chaining the Negro to a cruel, inhumane life. This the southern gentleman did in order to provide himself with riches. After the war, this same gentleman found himself a slave. He was a slave to poverty, hunger, devastation, and depression. The suppresser had fallen headlong into his self-made pit.
From this has stemmed the discrimination we have today. It has been vicious and it is almost unbelievable that such a thing exists in this democracy. Prejudice is a master. It enslaves those who are ignorant and cruel enough to refuse the divinely-given freedom to others. Its agitators have been filled with a superstitious tradition that comes from lack of reason and the lack of knowledge of truth.
They are not aware that they are dragging the name of liberty through the mud. They do not care if they are mocking man’s greatest dream. These people, who at the risk of doing this, are willing to join in mob violence against a minority, are forging the chains of their own slavery.
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God cannot long retain it.” These words of Abraham Lincoln are the greatest hope we have for the future. At times it seems as if men who are evil receive all the power and benefits. They certainly do not deserve it. We must continue to believe that they cannot triumph. We must continue to believe in the providence of God. We must learn to respect our fellow man and let liberty’s torch shine bright. Only then can we feel free from the slavery of prejudice and the punishment of a true, just God.
After reading this, I felt sad that these same issues are still dominant today, that the shadow of love, the need to be powerful, fills our society with injustice. Over fifty years after Martin Luther King’s death we have still not “reached the mountaintop.” While we cannot change our government over night, the energy we put out into the world in our daily lives does matter. We may choose to step out of the shadow of power and act in the light of love.
What love will you express today?
©2019 Georganne Spruce