These days, I find my mind still riveted in the ongoing issue of ‘power’ as exposed by the Weinstein/Hollywood saga. This is hardly surprising, considering the barrage of emerging details and further fallout. It’s a feeding frenzy for the press, with headlines clamoring daily with some new angle. California is a conflagration these days; ignited by firestorms on both the ground and in the atmosphere.
I keep rolling it all around in my subconscious, like a small ship warily navigating a massive iceberg. The latest bombshell with Harvey Weinstein is really the culmination of an escalating succession of scandals that have gone before it: Bill Cosby, Jian Ghomeshi, Bill O’Reilly, and countless other key political figures. All of this has a definite, razor-sharp prophetic implications. This is a watershed moment. We’ve come to a unique point in history, an unprecedented place; a turning point. Massive tectonic plates of foundational power are shifting on the earth. With the existence of the internet, we are at a juncture where the concerted voices of the multitude can break the vice-grip of information control that has been held by the highest levels of the privileged. Conspiracies of silence are shattering under the weight of accumulated witness accounts. Skilled hackers are invading the most protected vaults of information and secrecy. The one-voice-of-many may finally be heard over the bluster of bullies and the tirades of tyrants. All of it boils down to this: the time to deeply and conscientiously consider the power we control in our lives, and how we are using it, has come.
This an age-old problem, and it’s not going away. As far higher levels of privilege, influence and authority are granted to men on the earth, much more exacting levels of accountability will also be demanded. The Internet has accelerated the speed and intensity of everything. Secrets and sovereignties are not going to be hoarded or protected in the same way they have in the past. It’s all out there under the unrelenting glare of a virtual environment. Never has the true refinement of character in spiritual and moral maturity been so utterly critical.
Even the best and brightest have stumbled on this road. Scripture pulls no punches. Let’s face it; King David utterly fell off the integrity wagon when he called for Bathsheba. If you want another text-book example of outrageous abuse, look no further than the brazen antics of Jezebel and the spineless Ahab. Samson took vanity and arrogance to a whole new level even under the particular constriction of a Nazarite vow. Scripture is littered with the carcasses of foolish men; prideful egotists who made the mistake of thinking power was their own personal leviathan on a chain. Act like a monster, and the results are predictable. You’d think we’d actually have learnt something by now, but no. We find ourselves repeating the same stupid and destructive mistakes, squandering our gifts and beauty in vain attempts to make ourselves important. We miss our singular moments of destiny because we can’t humble our hearts and do it the Lord’s way. We’re so utterly and desperately worldly-minded. We kill our own potency.
Search the Word, and you will come to the inescapable conclusion that the Lord has chosen to place incredible privilege on regular people. Cut down a layer deeper, and you’ll see the grueling training and arduous character refinement they went through to be fit for the position. He patiently prepares people to handle the considerable weight of glory that is attached to great power. Anointed people have spent decades preparing for their particular moment in the divine scheme of things. In fact, it’s a loose principal that the longer you’ve spent in Sheol, the greater the authority to be conferred. There is no fast track to this kind of stuff. The nitroglycerin of power is so dangerous that mastery is essential, if you want to live long enough to enjoy your victory.
Of course, in the larger picture, we really have no say in what the Lord will use to make us ready. All we can do is yield, with an open heart, to what He’s leading us through at any given moment. When He puts his finger on toxic issues; offense, anger, bitterness, spite, resentment, contempt, pride or vanity, and gently asks us to let them go, the best thing we can do for ourselves is believe Him. In the aftermath of his sin with Bathsheba, David shows us the extensive heart-searching and repentance he experienced. Psalm 51 is the deep cry of his heart as he goes through the healing process. He follows up that thought with another, found in Psalm 139:23-24.
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
David’s prayer is really the crux of the matter, because we need to know the wicked, harmful, idolatrous ways within our own hearts. Eventually, undealt with, they are going to corrupt the power we’ve been given. The thing that is so unutterably shocking about the Weinstein scandal is not the fact of a tyrant behaving terribly, but rather, the concerted multiplicity of insulating structures surrounding and protecting him; the amount of energy and money expended to keep this despot on his throne. Disavowal of the truth was an art form. We can hardly be righteously indignant, if in fact, we are doing exactly the same thing.
What am I in denial of? What diseased germ of fear, self-hatred, wrath, selfishness or unbridled desire lurks in the dark corners of my soul, and has the potentiality to be my downfall? I don’t want to hurt myself or others. Remove from my mind and grasp every destructive agent and vicious disposition! Lord, cleanse my soul. Let the magnificent river of God flow through me unfettered, with all its beauty, intelligence, creativity, influence, affluence, and talent, exactly the way you’ve dreamt of.