President Obama said the following in making his so-called recess appointments and bypassing Congress, “When Congress refuses to act — and as a result, hurts our economy and puts our people at risk — then I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them.” These are the words of a dictator. Dictators always promise that what they’re doing is for the people. History books are filled with stories of dictators doing things for the Good of the people.
Isabel Paterson writes in her book The God of the Machine, “Most of the harm in the world is done by good people, and not by accident, lapse, or omission. It is the result of their deliberate actions, long persevered in, which they hold to be motivated by high ideals toward virtuous ends.”
Power is most dangerous in the hands of people who believe what they are doing is for our well-being because they contend that their intentions to help the less fortunate are righteous and just. It’s their intention to do good things that counts.
John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902). The historian and moralist, who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887.
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
In J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the power of the ring is not something to be desired even by good people. It’s no wonder that Gandalf and the elves shun the power of the ring. Tolkien is doubtful that any person has the ability to resist the temptation of absolute power promised by the ring, even if that power is used for good.
The Ring slowly but inevitably corrupted its bearer, regardless of the bearer’s initial intent. The Wise, including Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel, refused to wield it themselves, but determined instead that it should be destroyed. The corrupting power of the ring was apparently stronger on individuals more inclined to evil and selfishness: it took almost immediate hold of the greedy Sméagol as soon as he saw it, and corrupted Boromir after a few months of near proximity, while its effects were only starting to be seen in the noble Bilbo after 60 years of owning it.
Some of you are at this point saying, that was only a story, what has it got to do with real life? A lot I say. J.R.R. Tolkien was a Christian and throughout the story, especially if you read the books rather than just watch the films, you will see Biblical truths and quotes.
I am presently reading a book which I highly recommend by Vinita Hampton Wright called The Soul Tells a Story about engaging creatively with spirituality in the writing life. If you are blogging or write books or poems you have probably taken creative writing classes somewhere along the way. I spent several terms in Creative Writing 1, 2, 3 and special students classes that went on forever, made up for those of us who couldn’t get enough of learning, writing and sharing with each other and the teacher.
In the book Vinita writes, “I’ve become convinced that creative work is spiritual at its heart. Many of us sense that our soul has become fragmented by the cultural (and personal) separation of creativity from spirituality…” Further on she says, “In creative work you are uncovering reality that transcends your sensibilities… your own work will by its very nature touch on the revelation of other works by other people. And so you are joining in a process that unfolds in your life but is not confined to your experience. The most you can do is participate; you will never run the show.”
In quoting her words I’m trying to expand a point that this writer shared, writing is a gift which I believe is a gift from God. I think as we look at the Bible we see 66 books that were written by people who had a gift to hear from God and write down His inspired Words for us to read. In their cases they certainly were only participating and not running the show! I believe when we write we are inspired by God and not totally running the show either.
I look at writers like Tolkien and I see God directing him in those stories which unbeknown to him would years later be turned into major films. Everyone has heard of C.S. Lewis from his serious writings to his stories for children, The Chronicles of Narnia, which were also made into major films. In reading the books and seeing the films all sorts of people are show good winning over evil and the nature of people to turn toward evil even when they start out intending good. The men who wrote the books may have been believers and intended God’s nature and intent for us to show in their stories, but people of all religions and non-religions have read and watched over the years and a seed was planted whether they realized it or not.
God’s Word in the Bible and the inspired writing by countless writers since then have shown us evil and good and the outcome of succumbing to the dark side. The whole world is looking at the United States now, speculating on what is happening and how will it end. It may appear that a dictator is taking over but God is in control and He will be using all that is transpiring for His glory and the good of the people who will turn to Him.
The Constitution of the United States was written to “check” the powers of the federal government by carefully delineating and specifying the powers of each branch. If the Constitution does not grant the federal government power to perform a particular activity, the government cannot legally perform it: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people” (Tenth Amendment).
If the Constitution does not specify a particular function for the federal government to perform then they have no Constitutional right to perform the proposed unconstitutional activity even if the policy is designed to save the people.
The State has failed to heed the Bible’s warning and Benjamin Franklin’s warning to the Constitutional convention: “Except the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Psalm. 127:1). Civil government cannot save no matter how much it taxes the citizens in an attempt to fulfill its political dream of heaven on earth.
God warned the people in Samuel’s day that their rejection of Him as their true King would mean the — confiscation of their property by an oppressive state: “And [the king] will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. And he will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards, and give to his officers and to his servants … He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants” (1 Sam. 8:14–17).
The day is long past when we can say that the Federal Government of the United States has taken a tenth of what the people own. The percentage is much greater. What will the judgment be?
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.