The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse. Edmund Burke
Abuse is the weapon of the vulgar. Samuel G Goodrich
Abuse is always a bad thing. It is easy to be critical of those who abuse others, abusing their powers or positions. It is not nearly so easy for us to be critical of ourselves when we are guilty of abuse.
We should always be aware of abuse when we observe it. This is especially true of those who abuse those who are unable to defend themselves or stand up for themselves. Abuse is abundant and exists in many ways. Those in power are the stereotypical example of “abuse of power”. Politicians, corporate executives, law enforcement and journalists are but a few of those who come to mind when we consider abuse of power. Some people are guilty of abuse in their relationship with family or friends. It can be as small as taking an advantage of someone or as serious as causing them physical and mental pain. When abuse happens, the person doing the abusing has something wrong with them. The question is what causes someone to be abusive of someone else.
If something is done as an act of love or from genuine concern then it is very unlikely the action is likely to be abusive. If something is done with an attitude of selfishness, anger, rage, revenge, envy, jealousy, hatred, or other such misaligned or perverted attitudes, the likelihood for abuse exists. Those that are abused are victims. The less likely a person’s ability to resist or react to abusive behaviors by others, the greater the likelihood the abuse can be significant. Bullies and their victims are a classic example of this. Bullies tend to be bullies as long as their victims allow them to be bullies. In many cases when the victims find a way to stand up for themselves or have someone or something defending them, the bully tends to look to other places for their victims.
We should be aware of abusers. This means we should do what we can within reason and using appropriate means to counteract abuse whenever and however we can. Most importantly of all we should make sure we are not guilty of abuse ourselves. Whether it is our personal relationships, our positions, or our activities; we should always be well aware of what our intentions or motives are. If we are not acting from a spirit of love or genuine concern, we may well have crossed the line.
Challenge: Do you ever have a tendency to be abusive? Is there a problem with temper or self-control? How about verbal abuse to friends, loved ones, or strangers? This question requires being honest with one’s self. If there is a problem with any of these things, it is critical you address what causes your abusive actions. Being conscious of these tendencies and taking control is the first step toward overcoming abusive behavior.
The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. Isaiah 32:17
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
The best attitude is always based on a spirit of love. It is the power of love that allows us to rise above conditions and tendencies that may cause us to act in inappropriate ways. When we are thinking and caring about others, we are less likely to do or say things we should not. In own strength we will always be limited in having a loving spirit to guide us. With God’s help, the Holy Spirit will enable us to love with the same love that God loves.
Prayer: Help me to overcome my selfish ways and to learn to have a more loving attitude.