Power that does not corrupt
``POWER tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'' This statement of Lord Acton's has been illustrated many times in history. Dictators have brought only misfortune to themselves and to those under their rule because of their exercise of absolute authority. Many revolutions that began idealistically have ended in governments as despotic as those against which the people rebelled, simply because the true source of power was not understood. Power, when conceived of strictly as a human, personal possession, may corrupt those who wield it, because it expresses nothing of the divine nature and government. Its foundation is mortal and therefore self-destructive. The only absolute power that is absolutely incorruptible is the power of Spirit. Spirit is God; and Spirit has no element within it to corrupt, being totally pure and benevolent. Spiritual power is normal to the ideal man of God's creating--the spiritual man who is God's reflection, expressing purity and love. This is everyone's true selfhood. But materialistic, mortal thought would pervert the true sense of identity and power and tempt individuals to wield a personal, repressive kind of force.
To want personal control over others is egotistical, selfish. ``Thou shalt have no other gods before me,''1 reads the First Commandment. That implies no power but God, who is good. Since God is Love as well as Spirit, His authority is exercised only with the purpose to bless. Man, as God's reflection, or image, cannot help expressing spiritual dominion. The more we identify ourselves as God's reflection and express the divine nature in our lives, the more we feel this spiritual might. But this power can be used only to bless and heal, never to harm.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``To have one God and avail yourself of the power of Spirit, you must love God supremely.''2 When our whole allegiance is to this pure and perfect God, we receive power to do what is good. We become more unselfed. We gradually gain dominion over evil, including sickness and disease. More of our true selfhood appears. We begin to see that we are infinitely more than the imperfect mortals we appear to be. More and more we see ourselves as the effect of the one perfect divine cause, reflecting His power. Christ Jesus expressed God's omnipotence to a supreme degree. After relating the Master's healing of the palsied man, the Bible states, ``When the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.''3 It was Jesus' understanding of God, and his unselfish love for God and man, that empowered him to heal. It was his subordination of human will and his total yielding to God's perfect government that gave him ultimate mastery over every phase of evil. This is the work we all have to do to an increasing degree in our own lives and in our prayers for mankind.
Mrs. Eddy writes, ``The despotic tendencies, inherent in mortal mind and always germinating in new forms of tyranny, must be rooted out through the action of the divine Mind.''4 As individuals daily practice their understanding of spiritual might as the only genuine power, despotism will inevitably diminish. The Psalmist said: ``I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not.''5
There probably has never been a time when there was so much concern for others. Organizations dedicated to the elimination of injustices and evils of various kinds abound. This progress reflects an admission of the power of good and an intuitive desire to see it accepted as the only power--which it truly is. When we fully understand that this spiritual might is totally good, we will see what an impostor evil is--spreading itself ``like a green bay tree'' but having no staying power.
The days of tyranny are numbered, but God's power is eternal.
1Exodus 20:3. 2Science and Health, p. 167. 3Matthew 9:8. 4Science and Health, p. 225. 5Psalms 37:35, 36. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God . . . Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. Isaiah 44:6,8