Abuse of Authority
October 24, 2002 • By Ed Wrather
Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the Lord. …before they burned the fat the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who sacrificed, ‘Give meat for roasting to the priest, for he will not take boiled meat from you, but raw.’ Therefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord. …Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. So he said to them, ‘Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people.’ - 1 Samuel 2:12,17,22-23.
The General Medical Council of the United Kingdom had to deal with an almost unbelievable problem of bad conduct on the part of a surgeon. The Council said, “Dr. Mohannad Al-Fallouji’s conduct has rightly been described as bizarre.” The news media described the doctor as “a walking terror in a white coat.” The doctor once told a patient, “you have cancer, I have asthma, we all have to die some time.” He would occasionally grope female colleagues and make lewd remarks. He tried to arrange a date with an underage female patient without her parents finding out. To the credit of the General Medical Council they have barred the doctor permanently from practicing medicine.
Have you noticed how often people who are given authority or power over others abuse it? The sons of Eli were entrusted with a sacred position of authority just as many priests and pastors are today. The sons of Eli used their position to intimidate and take advantage of those who sincerely came to worship the Lord. Many priests and pastors today are doing the same. Sin is still sin and the Bible describes this sin as being “very great” because they “abhorred” the offering to the Lord. Not only did they abhor the offering of the Lord they did many other evil things taking advantage of those in vulnerable positions. God was not deceived and judgment came upon them.
It is terrible that some priests and pastors take advantage of the weak, but they are not the only ones. Many doctors, bosses, CEOs and those with a little bit of power (including politicians) have abused their privileged positions using those positions to take advantage of others. The sins of the sons of Eli were and are shocking! No less shocking were the abuses of Dr. Mohannad Al-Fallouji. But even those abuses of power, which are not shocking, are still wrong and harmful.
If you are in a position of authority to any degree, and you are abusing that power be warned that God is not mocked. God knows exactly what is going on and judgment is coming. For those of us who may be on the receiving end or have knowledge of the abuse of authority - what do we do? If we have within our power what is necessary to stop an abuse of authority or power and do not do so, we are enabling that abuse to continue. God held Eli responsible for the abuse of authority by his sons. God warned Eli, “In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them (1 Samuel 2:12-13 NKJV).”