Jesus’ last words, “It is finished,” is a gospel call to reject violence and domination and instead welcome community, connection, and service.

The human desire for control is a powerful force. We crave stability, predictability, and a sense of order in our lives. This desire can sometimes manifest as domination, a relentless pursuit of power over ourselves, others, and even situations. However, the path of domination usually leads to a deep well of misery for both the dominator and the dominated.

History is riddled with examples of domination’s destructive power. From empires built on conquest to interpersonal relationships driven by control, domination breeds resentment, fear, and violence. On a global scale, we see the devastating consequences of countries seeking dominance through military might, leaving a trail of destruction and instability. In our personal lives, domination can take the form of controlling partners or manipulative parents. 

Kids working together reminds us that cooperation is better than domination. That is goodness (gospel!).

But why is domination so destructive? The answer lies in its core principle: the belief that others are a threat to one’s well-being. This belief breeds suspicion and hostility. The dominator feels the need to constantly exert control, fearing any loss of power will lead to chaos. This creates a constant state of tension and anxiety, a life lived on the defensive.

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The dominated, on the other hand, experience a loss of freedom and autonomy. Their creativity and potential are stifled under the constant weight of control. Their isolation and lack of genuine connection weaken the community fabric.

The cycle of domination is a self-perpetuating one. The dominator, fearing rebellion, tightens their grip, leading to further resentment from the dominated. This fear and resentment create a toxic environment devoid of love, trust, and cooperation.

Thankfully, Jesus offers a different path – a path of service and sacrifice. He challenges the power structures of his time, rejecting domination in all its forms. Throughout his ministry, he emphasized the importance of love, humility, and putting the needs of others before your own.

One of Jesus’ most powerful teachings is found in Mark 10:43-45: “Whoever wants to become chief among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

It is noteworthy that Jesus called to himself both Matthew the tax collector and Simon the Zealot. Matthew’s work propped up the Roman machinery that dominated everyone and Simon was part of a faction that sought to rebel against Rome at an opportune time. He called them both to lay down their grievances and serve one another and the greater good.

Jesus, the ultimate source of power and authority, chose the path of service. He washed the feet of his disciples, a task typically reserved for the lowest servant. He commanded the disciples to follow his example and died on the cross, refusing to dominate in his quest to liberate humanity.

This message of service and sacrifice stands in stark contrast to the pursuit of domination. It asks us to  prioritize the well-being of others over our own desires for control. It calls us to approach relationships with humility and empathy. It encourages us to embrace vulnerability and trust in the power of cooperation.

Living a life of service doesn’t mean becoming a doormat. It means fostering healthy boundaries while still prioritizing the needs of others. It means empowering those around us instead of controlling them. It means using our talents and resources to uplift others, creating a world where everyone can flourish.

By choosing service over domination, we not only alleviate the suffering of others but also experience a profound sense of peace and fulfillment in ourselves. We open ourselves to genuine connection and create a world where cooperation and love, not control and fear, are the norm.

Here are some ways to break free from the cycle of domination and embrace a life of service:

  • Practice Gratitude: Shifting our focus from what we lack to what we have fosters a spirit of generosity and motivates us to share our blessings with others.
  • Develop Empathy: Seek to understand the needs and perspectives of others. Seeing the world through their eyes helps us connect on a deeper level.
  • Use Your Skills and Resources to Help Others: Find ways to volunteer your time or talents to benefit those in need.
  • Focus on Collaboration: Look for opportunities to work together with others towards a common goal.

Domination may offer a fleeting sense of security, but ultimately leads to a life of isolation and misery. By embracing the path of service and sacrifice, we can build a world rooted in love, cooperation, and genuine human connection.  

What are your thoughts on domination? Have you experienced it personally or witnessed it in others? 


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