Came across this little gem the other day.

It’s interesting to me how the concept of influence gets misappropriately equated with compulsion. It’s one thing to dictate, but it’s quite another to hold a position of authority.

It’s often hard to tell on the outside when the line between influence/authority and dominance/compulsion has been crossed, simply because the tools of both are strikingly similar. The most obvious instance of this is the parent/child relationship, but it extends into adult relationships as well.

The current consensus on how to deal with this issue is simply to lump the two together and hence reach the conclusion that any authority or influence over another is evil. I once met a couple who were convinced that their purpose as parents was to give their daughter whatever she wanted and refused discipline of any kind. However, such a view makes us unable to take correction, because correction comes by way of influence and authority. Correction is (of necessity) humiliating, and hence is easily shunned to maintain pride.

On the other hand, abuse of that influence is a very real evil and must be resisted. Like most things in life though, we can’t go around making that determination for others, we can only look at ourselves and see whether our own relationships are proper.

Bringing it back to the linked post, it’s been said by church leaders that fear of consequences is the worst reason to be obedient. I think it should also be stated however, that that is better than disobedience because of pride.

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