Abuse of Position--by Kimberly B. Southall

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It angers us when we learn of a politician who uses his political power for personal gain or to commit crimes or immoral acts. And it should. Likewise, we display righteous indignation when we see corporate or church leaders abuse their positions. Indeed, it is a legitimate cause for concern and action when a corporate leader is found to be abusing his employees or stealing from the company coffers or when a minister is guilty of child abuse or of shirking his duties. When we hear of such cases, we not only want the offensive problems put to an end, but we also usually want punishment to follow.

But what about you and me? Are we also guilty of abusing our positions? Before that righteous indignation kicks in, give careful consideration.

First, think about your "position." Are you a husband or wife, a parent or grandparent, a "big" brother or sister, a Sunday school teacher, a role model of any sort, a Christian? You fill in whatever your position is, and honestly ask yourself if you ever abuse your position. For husbands and wives, do you exhibit love toward your spouse at all times or are there occasions when you take him or her for granted and treat them less than how you should? For parents, do you always treat your children with calm and respect in ways which set the right example for them or have you been known to lose your temper or set the wrong example? For older brothers and sisters, do you treat your siblings the way you would want to be treated or do you sometimes take advantage of the fact that you are older and/or bigger? For Sunday school teachers, is your daily life a good example for your students? Do you devote enough time in preparing your lessons because your students are a priority or do you "squeak by" each week, just going through the motions because somebody has to teach? Whatever your position is, are you truly living up to your responsibilities and expectations in that role? Each of us undoubtedly has more than one position. Do you take each of yours seriously?

As a Christian, do you live up to the responsibility or are you abusing the position? Sadly enough, most of us abuse the positionnot just occasionally, but usually on a daily basis! Surely not many of us witness to the lost as we ought to. Surely not many of us set the right example all day every day without fail. Surely not many of us continually encourage our fellow Christians as the scriptures direct us. Surely many of us are abusing our position as Christian. Think about that positionwe are adopted sons and daughters of God (Ephesians 1:5)! We are heirs to the kingdom, just like Jesus, our Lord and Savior (Romans 8:17; Ephesians 3:6). We are in such a high position, we will someday judge the angels (1 Corinthians 6:3)! Surely when we shirk our responsibilities as Christians we are forgetting just what our position is. But that doesn't remove the fact that we abuse our position, does it!?

Let us contemplate this matter. Let us remind ourselves of the importance of each position we have and the importance it has to other people. For every role we have is made possible only because God permits it. We must never think we are above faithfully carrying out our responsibilities.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:3 (NIV)

Yes, it is normal and right to be angry when politicians, corporate leaders, church leaders, and others abuse their positions either by acts they commit or actions they fail to take. And, yes, there should be and are consequences in those circumstances. At the same time, let's not judge with a skewed measuring tool. Let us remember that the way we handle the responsibilities of our own positionsno matter what those areare just as important in the eyes of God.

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:2 (NIV)

Please strive not to abuse your position.

Copyright © 2002 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.