It’s really scary what we human beings are capable of — even the very best among us. Look at the things we do. Parents imprison their children with some even raping them; adults ravaging babies; we kill when people don’t return our affections; we bully, sometimes, to the point of death; we torture, we steal, inflict pain on others … and the list goes on and on.
We tend to console ourselves that we don’t do these things. Others with criminal tendencies do, but we don’t. I think we need to take a good look at ourselves. All of us — without exception — are capable of the worst in humanity. If we are honest, each of us will be able to recall one or two unthinkable acts we carried out which we, perhaps, regret now.
Thankfully, that is our saving grace, remorse. Remorsefully, we vow never to do those acts again. And, many of us don’t. But the fact remains that we did those things. It is testament to the reality that we are capable of terrible things.
It’s not just the strong and powerful who are capable of inflicting pain and damage on others; the weak are capable of the same. Certain circumstances and the frame of mind we are in, sometimes, lead us to acts that have terrible consequences.
We need to be aware of what we are capable of and put checks and balances in our lives so that we are able to pull back from the brink of terrible acts of inhumanity. This is especially so if we are in positions of power and authority. We need constraints so that we don’t run ahead on our strengths without realising what damage it may be causing.
Leaders need checks and balances. That’s a premise of democracy and democratic institutions provide for it (that’s the reason why I am all for reforms to control corruption and abuse of power).
We also need checks and balances at the personal level. We always need to make ourselves “smaller” for the sake of the weaker so that we are sensitive to the latter and we don’t overwhelm them. When we hold back on our strengths to the vulnerable, we make it easier for them to learn and grow.
One good way of “holding back” is to build good relationships. In healthy relationships, we are always thinking of the other person and that acts as a constraint to doing what we like. Because it is a healthy relationship, we are sensitive, and our sensitivity acts to stop us from overwhelming others or imposing ourselves on them or insisting our will on them.
There is no better example on Earth that I can think of than the example of Jesus Christ. He is God. But when he walked this Earth for 33 years, he walked as a mortal man. He limited himself to become human so that he can relate with us.
If he came to us as he really is, God, it would destroy us. He is of a different realm and all-powerful. Meeting with us as He really is cannot but be a clash of the powerful with the weak. Death, surely, is certain.
That’s why He came as a man, entering our reality, powerless, devoid of His superior lineage, humble until death. He became “small” so that we can learn from Him and take part in His creative work to be better people, through whom His purposes are accomplished.
In whatever service we engage for others, we need to understand that though it puts us in an advantageous position over them, we need to to make ourselves “lesser” so that they can become bigger.
That’s the example of Jesus Christ, and, His followers, Christians, especially, need to follow in that example.