What is Power? An Observation at a Childhood Experience


When I was about ten years old, I often used to get into physical fights with other kids. I was part of a small gang in my school. The head of the gang was a tall kid. We all used to call him by the letter ‘N’ (as that was the initial of his last name). N was a good friend of mine. I was like his right hand. (Right hand meaning he trusted me a lot). N and my other friends backed me up always, whenever I fought with someone. If someone said anything against N, we all would go to fight for him.

I was not the strongest kid, but I was tough. My parents did not know much about this ‘fighting part’ of me because I used to be a good boy at home. My dad painstakingly used to iron (and he still does) my clothes, but my dress would be messed up in a matter of hours. I also often imagined impressing my class girls when fighting with other kids.

Once N was on vacation for a week. I was a slow eater and was almost alone in the lunchroom after everyone had left. Then a kid came into the room, held my shirt and dragged me out. He came to take revenge on me because I had beaten up his friend a few days before. Though this kid was one year younger than me, he was strong for me. He gave me a few punches here and there and threw me on the ground.

When I fell on the ground, I remembered that I had a talisman of a mythological god in my pocket. I took it out and kissed it, assuming that would gift me with more strength. I got up from the floor imagining myself as a wounded hero, and ran towards this kid expressing my rage.

After that moment, the kid gave me even more blows. He practised his boxing and kickboxing shots on me for a few minutes. I was able to pay back a few shots, but again, this kid was just strong for me. Two of my friends came to defend me, but of no use. Thank heavens, at last, one of our teachers was passing by that way, and this kid loosened me a bit. That gave me enough time to escape from there.

After going back to my classroom, I thought of telling this to my gang so we could go together and beat that kid. But I hesitated. What if my class girls came to know that? That would be terribly embarrassing. So I dropped the idea of taking revenge, for the moment.

When N came back from his vacation, I told him secretly about what happened to me, and proposed an idea of beating up that kid secretly. N said that this kid was a brother of a senior student, who was a muscular boy. It seems that the kid’s brother also had a big gang. He told me to forget about my wounds and move on with my life. Though I did not like N’s reply, I just had to move on with my life. My strength was not enough to fight back against that kid who had beaten me up.

Coming to the point of what I observed from the above incident:
I have a friend who is a cab driver. I take his help whenever I fly from Detroit to my project locations. Once he asked me a question “If Jesus were God, why he had to die that way? How could a God be killed? Jesus was just a good man, but not God. If Jesus were God, he would be able to use his power to destroy all those people”.

I asked him “What is power? Destroying others using physical strength?” Our conversation did not continue further as we reached the airport and I had to catch my flight.

I thought about our conversation later. The above childhood incident of mine came to my memory. I was puffed-up as a kid because all my friends were backing me up all the time, as I was pushing my strength on my weaker pals. When someone who was stronger than me, came to beat me up, I saw the reality.

Sometimes we have much to learn from our childhood incidents when we ponder about them. When we define power as something that is meant to destroy, or evaluate it by the strength of its physical coercion, can that power remain longer? I don’t think so. Such power is meant only to be destroyed by something more-powerful.

In my view, the real power of a person is determined by how he/she uses the power what he/she has; however, small or big. This power is guided by love, and not a selfish ambition. Jesus Christ claimed that He came to die for the sins of this world, and He proved it practically by even loving those who came to kill Him. That tells more of how much Godly He is.

If He had brought down thousands of angels, and destroyed the sinners, what would be so special about Him? Anyone would be inclined to destroy their enemies. The real power is that it aims to destroy the sin and not the sinner. The real power is also measured by how much willing a person is, in giving up his/her power for the sake of love for others.

Relevant verses from the Bible:
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51With that, one of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
52"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

- Matthew 26: 51 - 53

49When Jesus' followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?" 50And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
51But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him.

- Luke 22:49 - 51

Photo credit: 123rf.com

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