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Abuse of authority

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The misuse of a person’s freedom of action in order to exploit, oppress or treat other people in a way that is not for their good.

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Warnings against the abuse of authority

By employers over employees

Ephesians 6:9 NASB95
9 And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
See also Le 25:43; Dt 24:14

By fathers over children

Ephesians 6:4 NASB95
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

By husbands over wives

Colossians 3:19 NASB95
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

By elders over the church

1 Peter 5:2–3 NASB95
2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
See also Eze 34:2–7

By those mistreating foreigners

Exodus 22:21 NASB95
21 “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
See also Ex 23:9

By leaders over those who are led

Matthew 20:25–27 NASB95
25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;
See also Lk 22:25–26

By those taking advantage of the helpless or poor

Exodus 22:22 NASB95
22 “You shall not afflict any widow or orphan.
See also Pr 22:22; Eze 22:29; Zec 7:10

By those who oppress others

Jeremiah 22:17 NASB95
17 “But your eyes and your heart Are intent only upon your own dishonest gain, And on shedding innocent blood And on practicing oppression and extortion.”
See also Ps 73:8; Ps 119:134; Eze 22:7

Examples of the abuse of authority

Genesis 16:6 NASB95
6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence.
See also Ex 1:11; 1 Ki 12:14; Jas 2:6
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