This post is courtesy of
Rev Alan Rudnick, Pastor of
The First Baptist Church of
and Blogger for
The Times Union, Albany NY
Alan Rudnick — September 18, 2009
People love to watch a control freak melt down. A popular reality show about overly controlling brides-to-be is now in its sixth season (what reality show isn’t?) The show’s description reads:
“Who among us has not met a Bridezilla?” This reality series from WE takes us inside the hectic wedding preparations of brides-to-be who are determined to have the perfect wedding–no matter how many tantrums they must throw to achieve that dream. Every episode we meet a new bride who is more selfish and controlling than the previous one. This unique reality show, shows the life of brides-to-be and how they fight with their friends, family and future husband to get anything they want for their wedding and for it to be just the way the like it!”
One word: wow.
All of us have a little bit of a control freak in us. We want things our way, on our timetable and we want to control. Control freaks. We have all seen them. Crazy bosses, celebrity selfishness, bridezillas, and overbearing friends. The need for control and power is in every aspect of our culture. From government to Google, someone is always looking for power. Someone is always looking for control. There is a little control freak in all of us. Things have to be just so, we feel possessive about our groups, property, or relationships. But why? Why do we have this innate need to be in control?
In Mark 9, Jesus is traveling with his disciples through Galilee and did not want the public to know what he was teaching: that Jesus had to be betrayed, die, and rise again. The disciples were befuddled. They cannot make sense of what Jesus was saying. How could God send apart of himself to die on the cross? They then begin to argue who is the greatest so that one of them can take over. Real nice, Jesus isn’t even dead and the disciples begin planning who is going to take control.
The disciples were control freaks. They were arguing the instant that Jesus said he would not always be there for the disciples. The disciples fell into the typical human response to a change in leadership: figure out who is the greatest, so that the next person can take control and gain power.
Our need to want to be in control comes from our fears. We fear what might happen, so we try to prevent it by controlling the situation. We also operate out of our insecurities. We overcompensate for what we lack. If we lack attention, we want to control a conversation so that it always comes back to us.
At the end of the story in Mark 9, Jesus takes a little child and places the child into the group of disciples, Jesus tells the disciples if they want to be the greatest they must welcome such a child and become a servant to all. Being a servant requires us to let go. Letting go our egos and self-centered attitude enables us to embody love and compassion.
Today, let go your unhealthy compulsions and embrace an attitude of service to others. If you do let go, I think you’ll find that serving others requires less energy than trying to controlling others.