The Devastation of Control
Control, it’s the first lie the snake used to describe God.
It exposed Adam and Eves nakedness. It’s the introduction of condemnation and shame, the origin of the law of sin and death, the birthplace of every religious thought and action thereafter.
Control, it masquerades in the religious rhetoric of holiness; its wars are holy, its politics, its inquisitions, its crusades, its genocide, its prejudice, discrimination, racism, sexism, its abuse – all painted with the brush of fanatic righteousness.
Control, it’s ego dressed up in virtue. It demands compliance, women will know their place, children will know their place, slaves, everyone must know their place.
Control, it’s a bully who’s been bullied, it’s a vicious cycle of condemnation masquerading as justice. Its victims become disciples.
Control, it’s the street preacher frothing at the mouth about hell and gays and gun rights. It’s hate speech framed as pious obedience. It’s the church standing up for what it’s against.
Control, it’s the talking head frothing at the mouth about Christianity while normalizing depravity. It’s the religion of whatever feels good. It sexualizes everyone for its own amusement. It saves the whales while rationalizing abortion.
Control, it’s the paradigm of a fallen world, the lens by which most see-through, the context by which multitudes measure success, value, respect, and significance. It promises that we don’t have to live afraid, helpless, exposed; that we don’t have to be victims.
Control, it makes everyone its victim.
Deep down we know control is a mirage. We know it’s a perversion of the truth; it’s a counterfeit to our designed grace – to be loved and to love. But to the extent we don’t know the power and authority of LOVE is to the extent we’ll find ourselves clamoring for it; control of our god, control of our destinies, our jobs, our finances, our relationships, the dog, the House, the Senate, the Mexican border, Afghanistan.
Control is the lie inserted into our relationship with God. It’s the lie about God and the lie about us. If believed, it will strive to own our every breath, every thought, every moment. But it always leads to the same place – shame, condemnation, fear, and death.
Control, it’s ugly, unkind and selfish. It’s counter to all God is and yet it is the word we often use to describe Him.
Control, we box God into a broken paradigm, a fallen narrative, a flawed thought, a lie spawned by the enemy of our soul, and then when everything goes to hell we either give God a pass and call it sovereignty or blame Him for the brokenness.
Control, it has nothing to do with the sovereignty of God.
God is LOVE. LOVE has all authority and is the most powerful revelation.
It’s time we stopped painting LOVE with the brush of control
Jason Clark is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.
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Jason:I had an immediate reaction to, “Control, it masquerades in the religious rhetoric of holiness.” I think I understand what you are stating, but would unpack that a bit more?
Thanks for the feedback Ian! I can see what you mean, that sentence, if it stands alone doesn’t work. I absolutely believe we are called to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15) But that sentence is meant to set up the following sentence “Its wars are holy, its politics, its inquisitions, its crusades, its genocide, its prejudice, discrimination, racism, sexism, its abuse – all painted with the brush of fanatic righteousness.”
What I am trying to highlight in this section is that when we live in the context of control, holiness is distorted into an ideal to promote an agenda, it becomes rhetoric used for a cause.
I think holiness is discovered in a life lived in response to His perfect love. I don’t think we can get there by what we do but what we believe about His love. Of course what we believe will be evidenced in what we do. Its a cart before the horse thing.
Jesus explains it well in Matthew 7:22-23 “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
I believe Jesus is saying that we can either live and minister from the authority of His love or we can live and minister in the context of control (the law). One is His way; the other is actually directly opposed to Him. And Jesus makes it clear; He will not recognize nor tolerate a control narrative.
Paul goes more in depth in his letter to the Corinthians. “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1st Corinthians 13:1-3)
Paul is letting us know that we can do lots of good Christian things; things many would perceive to be holy; we can live a structured intentionally principled life and completely miss the point.
I don’t think holiness can be experienced in the paradigm of control. To be holy as He is holy is to, like Jesus, live loved and become love.
Those are some thoughts on the subject, probably more than you asked for :-).
You didn’t give me more than I asked for 😉 I wanted to see your thoughts unfolded. I found that the way you used control actually distracted me from what you were saying. As I’ve now read you post and your response a number of times (trying to make sure that I’m getting the picture), you are using “control” so that it has a different connotation than “control” usually does. Perhaps it is also the individual (me) who has his own filter in place.
I think that what you are trying to say is that the Christian life is often lived as if rules (often masking might and oppression) were the authority that drive us to follow the Way of Christ, when it should be love. Is that close?
This of course is a snapshot article. Juxtaposing control with love. I have been discovering and writing about Gods love for some time. Its really the only thing I write, talk, sing about :-). And one of my passions in this series is to further separate the idea that love and control are bedfellows. They aren’t. He isn’t a God of rules, He is a God of relationship.
In Prone To Love I go after this idea in depth. And some of my most recent blogs are specifically written about control and love. One that might help that I released months back is http://jasonclarkis.com/if-god-is-good/
There are several others who write about this. Anything Danny Silk writes is awesome. Brian Zahnd is another.