I haven’t had the blessing of children yet! However, I find it interesting to watch my loved ones with theirs. It’s incredible how parents teach their kids what needs to be done as they think best…. THEIR WAY! However, the kids decide to respond with what they think is best and that is THEIR way, not their parents. A kid is also a human being trying to grow and trying to learn how to make decisions having their own interests and desires in mind. How does one balance teaching / disciplining the child yet not hindering the personality / character development of the child? Yes, a child is naive and wouldn’t know the consequences of their actions. However, do the parents not make mistakes with their own decisions in life? I can say for sure, despite being an adult for decades I make many mistakes…. and I’m embarrassed to admit, sometimes those mistakes are repeatedly made!
It’s tough enough when the scenario is with an adult and child… what about adult to adult (even if it’s parent and child!)? We see a lot of power struggles around us, in families, in friendships and even in churches.
David was anointed to be king even before he entered the palace; the Spirit of the LORD had also come upon him in power (1 Samuel 16:11-13). David entered Saul’s service and Saul was “pleased with him” (vs.22). However Saul became jealous of David and tried to find ways to get rid of David including using the “battle of the LORD”. Saul was focused on his own kingdom and thus saw David as an enemy. Misplaced power! In fact the Bible mentions that God was grieved that He had made Saul king (1 Samuel 15:11).
Dictating terms or making decisions for others’ personal lives is nothing but a power struggle. Some of us think we are the saviours of the world – that we are called to advice every one as we have got it all right in life… I have heard people claiming God’s wisdom and called to guide older people or that they (females) have been called to lead males like Deborah. These are sure signs of power struggle. Nathan knew about the sins in David’s life because God had revealed it to him. God sent Nathan to David to give him the chance to get back on track. Nathan didn’t find out what David had done wrong through questioning David. It was a word of knowledge and not of the flesh.
God gives us free will. He allows us to make choices. In love we need to speak the truth to one another and put off falsehood (Ephesians 4). The emphasis is, “in love”. Our words should build each other not tear down. We need to check our motives. Have we said a word of encouragement in the process? If not, why haven’t we? Are we trying to act superior or self righteous? Are we able to be transparent with our lives too? If we have experienced grace from God, we will increasingly be able to extend that to the other – and we can also be transparent about our current struggles. Come on let’s face it! We ALL have (and will continue to have) struggles in our lives because we are human. Once past the infant stage, Christian growth is not hierarchal but instead mutually edifying. It takes humility to be transparent.
Power struggles arise when we fail to remember that ALL authority belongs to Jesus – HE is the HEAD of the church (the Body of Christ), not man. Parents have authority over children as fitting in the Lord – i.e. still under God’s supreme rule. We don’t have the right to lord it over the other.
The more we yield ourselves as vessels to God, we won’t emotionally blackmail the other but rather with much tears intercede for them. We will reflect God’s heart… God never forces. We don’t even know our own hearts to begin with. How can we judge their hearts to know what they are doing is in obedience to God (unless what they are doing is obviously not in accordance to God’s Word; when their acts are of the fleshly nature)?
Power struggle is an issue we all face to one degree or another… and we need to remember God is Sovereign and He is the one above us… God speaks to the other too and He doesn’t favour people in His leading as long as we are yielded to Him. And when we err like David, God sends a Nathan (prophet) to warn us.