Power and corruption


Well-known member
You have probably heard this statement, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” No doubt you can think of examples of people who acquired power and used it in a corrupt manner. The ones I think of first are Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. Hitler was responsible for the Holocaust which killed 17 million people, including almost 6 million Jews. Stalin’s policies resulted in the deaths of millions and after World War II the Soviet Union seized control of many nations in Eastern Europe. The lives of these two are clear evidence that possession of power leads to corruption and a rejection of traditional standards of right and wrong.

Their lives would be evidence of this except for one fact. God possesses absolute power. That means he should be absolutely corrupt, but in fact we see that God is absolutely free of corruption. That shows that it could not have been the acquisition of power that led Hitler and Stalin to commit the evil they were responsible for.

The truth is not that power corrupts but that it frees people to express the corruption that already exists in their natures. Someone without power can possess the desire to do evil but be unable to express that desire openly because of fear of the consequences. He may be forced to live a life that is outwardly moral when in fact he would commit terrible acts if he could get away with it. What kind of lives might Hitler and Stalin have lived if they hadn’t become dictators of their countries?

In his early years Hitler wanted to become an artist and applied for admission to the Vienna Academy of the Arts and was rejected. What if he had been accepted? Perhaps he would never have become involved with the Nazi party and if he were well known today it would be as an artist.

Stalin was once a student in a Russian Orthodox seminary, studying to become a priest. He also began writing poetry at this time. Perhaps if he had graduated he would have spent his life as a priest and been known to everyone as Father Dzhugashvili. (Dzhugashvili was his original name. He later adopted the name Stalin, which means “man of steel”.) Or he might have continued to write poetry and become famous for that. Either way he wouldn’t have acquired the reputation for evil that he has today.

If Hitler and Stalin had not acquired political power it is likely that they would not have been considered evil by those who knew them. But how would God have viewed them at their final judgment?

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7

If God judges by our hearts rather than by our actions, isn’t it possible that many of the people we encounter may be much worse than Hitler and Stalin but have never had the power to express the evil in their hearts for fear of the consequences? And isn’t it also possible that we are just as evil but have never expressed this evil in our actions because we have lacked the power to do so? When I consider some of thoughts I have entertained I believe that if the circumstances of my life had been different I could have become a Hitler or a Stalin. God has kept me from that fate first by not allowing me the power to put my thoughts into action, and then by allowing me to hear the gospel and to repent and put my faith in Jesus Christ. As a result of my faith in Christ all my sins have been forgiven and I have been born again as a member of God’s family.

Consider your own lives. What would you be like if you possessed the power that Hitler and Stalin did and no one could stop you if you decided to do something that was evil?


Well-known member
One should consider the reality of the evil that Christians face everyday; not loving one another. We have that power everyday to either lean on Christ Jesus for the love we need to love our enemies, even if it be the least we can do is forgive them and pray for them that the Father will forgive them for they know not what they do.

1 John 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. 8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. 9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. 12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

1 Peter 2:19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;.....14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. 17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

If Hitler & Stalin had not minded high things, but condescend to men of low estate, with His help in loving one another with Christ's love, but they did not, and the world suffered for it. And yet how many in our lives suffer for our lack of Christ's love? How much do we suffer when we do not abide in Him by hating our brother or being unwilling to forgive him for knowing not what he do?

Sometimes we are overwhelmed and cannot see it in ourselves as in our religious flesh or will power to do what Jesus commands, but yet, we are not to see His commandments as something we are to do, but to see our need of Him to help us to do since He is our Good Shepherd & Friend.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

I can accept the limitation that there are some people we cannot get along with as they are offensive and unwilling to stop, but apart from them, we can forgive them with Christ's love and lean on Jesus whenever the devil tries to rehash the past offenses to build up animosity towards them.

1 Timothy 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

Romans 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

May the Lord remind us that He came to save sinners & even restore wayward carnal believers to the path of righteousness for His name's sake, that we can go to Him for help to forgive them and lean on Him to keep on forgiving them to enjoy the peace of mind with Him till He comes to take us Home. The importance of this is obvious, those who have offended us may be there at the Marriage Supper table for why we need to forgive them now.

James 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. 9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. 10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.