The Salvation Army is opposed to any form of abuse of power by a stronger person over a weaker.
In human relationships there are areas of legitimate authority. When power or control is carried beyond the appropriate boundaries of authority, this constitutes abuse.
Abuse is the misuse of power in interpersonal relationships where one person seeks to control inappropriately, manipulate, exploit or dominate another. Such misuse of power may occur, for example, between parent and child, husband and wife, employer and employee, teacher and pupil, caregiver and invalid or elderly person, Officer and Soldier, or between peers. It may take the form of sexual, physical, verbal, spiritual, psychological or emotional abuse.
The most vulnerable members of our society who depend on others for their wellbeing (i.e. children, elderly, disabled, or mentally unwell) are particularly susceptible to abuse, whether by omission or commission.
All acts of abuse dehumanize both victim and perpetrator. The effects of abuse are often long-term and usually include the denigration of a person’s sense of wellbeing.
The Bible teaches that we should be truthful, kind and Christ-like in our dealings with others (Romans 15:1,5,7; Ephesians 4:15; 1 Thess 5:14).
Those who have power or authority over others have a commensurate responsibility to be accountable to ensure that these standards are met (Luke 3:12-14; Luke 12:48b).
Approved by International Headquarters
For information related to this subject, read the Power in the Church Talksheet, published by the Moral and Social Issues Council.