Freedom from Fear and Violence: Methodists against Gender Based Violence – Mind your Power
Readings: 2 Samuel 11: 2-27, Matthew 20: 20-28, Psalm 51
I think that one of the most iconic internationally recognised expressions of later years is “mind the gap”. This is an expression that comes from the British rail system and has been extrapolated across manifold contexts, in many nations and hardly has anything to do with the rail system at all for many of the people who use it.
Mind the Gap means that we should pay attention to the gap in front of us and we should cross that gap with caution lest we misstep. There are many gaps that we need to pay attention to. We need to pay attention to the disparities and the gaps that exist along gender lines, along racial lines, along age lines and generational divides, along political lines, along economic lines and along countless other lines. There are so many gaps that we assume don’t exist and more often than not; if we see that it does exist, we assume that it is because you are far away from me rather than we are far away from each other. Every “Gap” conversation is filled with emotion and becomes a debate about who is right and who is wrong and about which action is more or less good and evil when all along; we need to understand that the gap is not because of the train or the passenger; it is a present reality and we need to pay attention to it to make sure that we don’t get stuck in it but that we use our energy closing the gap properly. When we see the gap that exists and we do everything we can to minimize the gap so that everyone can be on the same train, then it is healthy. The train is not a gravy train but a train that leads us all to a new tomorrow where everyone is treated equally because they have the same ticket that leads to the same destination.
There is a gap that exists that seems to be getting harder to bridge than the other gaps and that is the “power gap”. It seems that the darker side of human nature becomes apparent when anyone who believes they have power over another for whatever reason becomes untouchable. They believe they are untouchable when the gap that exists in their minds between them and those without power is great enough to keep their intentions and actions hidden and should it be revealed they believe that the gap is big enough to keep them safe. Power does corrupt and it takes an incredibly strong will to remain honest when power presents an appetising taste of being above others. It also creates its own demons as even the allure of power and the possibilities it presents corrupts the heart of humanity.
We all have power over something or someone, we all have the ability to hurt something or someone who is vulnerable to us and we all have to decide whether we will keep the gap closed or whether we will let it widen. We all decide whether we will use our power for the intended responsibility of building up that which has made itself vulnerable to us or whether we will widen the gap by using our power to benefit our own desires. Pay attention to the power that has been given to you and pay attention to why it was given to you and pay attention to how God is guiding you to use it in order that His Kingdom may be the reality of your world.