By now, many of you have probably heard about the arrest of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on corruption charges. Blagojevich and his administration were on a 3-year probe by the FBI; and on Tuesday, they were finally charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery.
You can read the USA Today’s article here.
Blagojevich was responsible for appointing the successor to the vacant Illinois senator’s seat, which was made vacant by President-elect Barack Obama. With wiretaps, the FBI was able to record Blagojevich trying to trade the senator seat in exchange for his wife’s placement on corporate boards and other bribes and rewards.
It is easy to look at high-profiled people and say that it can never happen to me, but there is something alluring about power. Once a person has it, three things begin to happen: 1) we want more; 2) we begin to think rules don’t apply to us; 3) we forget where we came from.
The influence of power infiltrates all sectors of society and it is not just in politics. It can come into the church amongst pastors and church leaders. I write this knowing that I am not immune to the lure of power. This is something that the church leaders and I have to be on guard on a 24-hour watch.
Here are some things that will keep us guarded (I am going to use the acronym GUARD):
b) Love Gauge – when we are loving God and loving people, then there is no room for us to try to elevate ourselves or feel the need for more power.
c) Attitude Gauge – when we find ourselves complaining, looking down at people, and getting negative and judgmental, then danger is waiting for us.
d) Servanthood Gauge – when we get more power, it is always hard to do the simple things for ourselves and also for others – we want to get served rather than serve.
e) Humility Gauge – when we forget where we came from and it is only by God’s grace that we are able to do anything, then we walk down the slippery slope.
3) ACCOUNTABLITY – This has been the mother-of-all protection against various pitfalls. As soon we think we are above accountability or when our accountability becomes weak, then we open ourselves up to greater temptation.
4) RELATIONSHIPS – I am so thankful for my wife, Christina and other close friends who always keep me RIGHT (Real, Introspective, Grounded, Honest, and Tempered). As soon as I begin to think that I am better than I really am, then they are the ones who always say, “Uh, what do you think you are doing?”
5) DEVOTION – When we are preoccupied with loving and exalting Jesus more, then there is less room for us to prop ourselves up. The more we spend time with Jesus, the more we will learn about a Person who had all the power in the world but did not abuse it for selfish gain.