So as an SA citizen looking to vote on Wed 7th May 2014, I am extremely aware of the local corruption news. 3 articles that have particularly cought my attention are the following: Milk Gate ( http://mg.co.za/article/2014-02-06-free-state-dairy-project-damned-in-treasury-investigation; http://mg.co.za/article/2013-06-07-00-gupta-dairy-project-milks-free-state-coffers). & a new look at Nakandal (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/03/jacob-zuma-pleasure-dome-south-africa-elections).
However a country is not just about the news that makes headlines, but the individuals within it, and there is another very pressing issue of corruption far closer to home that has stayed out of the news.
In the light of this, I write this piece for myself & all of you, in the hope that we can refocus ourselves and beat corruption wherever we are.
Its easy to see the large scale corruption & abuse of power within government and other positions of leadership or power, but there is a far more pervasive corruption. One so common around the world that most people think of it as normal, but it can be beaten by everyday people. And I firmly believe that if we do, it will make it increasingly harder for those around us to get away with increasingly larger and more daring corruptions. In fact, I suspect that large scale corruption has been increasing because as individuals we have become increasingly lax about ‘small’ corruption.
To illustrate: have you ever noticed how you might tell a little ‘white lie’, but then as a direct result you end up having to tell another, maybe slightly bigger one, and then maybe something else you’re a little less comfortable with, but can still easily justify. Then a while later something comes up, & its so much easier to jump straight to the slightly bigger lie, but actually it doesn’t really stop there either…
If this doesn’t sound familiar, then think of something other than lies, something that does prick your conscience a little; or just keep a close eye on yourself over the next week. There is a list at the end to help you think through the different types.
The truth is that this scenario is extremely common. So common that many stories, comedies and tragedies alike, use is & rely on it resonating with us on some level. But it you’ve watched one of these shows (or read one of these books), you’ll know that the little lie ends in massive bloopers, the stollen kiss results in a sordid affair or divorce, innocently not pointing out the mistaken identity so you can accept the freebie results in being centre stage of some dreadful miss understanding with federal agents & nearly gets them killed. Admittedly real life is seldom quite that colourful, but those ‘little’ things do escalate.
But everybody does these ‘little’ things all the time, there’s no way to avoid it. Right?! No! Not right!
We were created perfect, able to live happy & fulfilled lives without doing any of those, except…
When we give in to temptation, we give it power over us & make it harder to resist. If you’ve been alive long enough to read this, I’m certain that you’ve experienced this! And I be you’d struggle to beat temptations on your own, but if you really not interested in doing it the way I suggest, please at least try. But here’s the great news for the rest of you:
Jesus offers us His divine power to escape from corruption caused by sinful desire.
1 Peter 1:3-4
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
Yes, I know that Christians aren’t perfect! Often we forget to grasp that power & use it when our sinful and divine nature war within. It is so easy just to roll over & say “its normal, I can’t help it”. Well if if Christ does live within you, then it is not normal! You are not just a fallen human, you are Christ’s beloved child, whom He has equipped and empowered. If you surrender without grasping that power, you fail not only yourself, but those around you. And I expect you to hold ME accountable to that too.
If you’re not a Christian, or you’re more into churchianity than harnessing Christ’s power; then at least try to reform your own life, cutting out those ‘little’ corruptions of your heart, mind & actions.
As we get our lives cleaned up, and get those around us to hold us accountable, so we can increase our gracious and forgiving influence on those around us. An influence for good, to reduce corruption of the heart, where all corruption starts. This is the sort of anti-corruption spring clean that has the potential for deep and long lasting results, if we as everyday people take it seriously and do our bit.
What is corruption & sin according to the Bible?
Breaking the 10 commandments… (Exodus 20:1-17)
1- not acknowledging God
3- misusing the Lord’s name
4- not keeping the seventh day rest
5- Dishonoring your parents
6- murder (Jesus explains this to include hate)
7- sexual relations outside marriage (Jesus expands this to include lustful thoughts)
8- stealing (in the light of Jesus’ sermons, I’m sure this included petit heft & even what we prefer to think of as borrowing without asking, or redirecting of resources)
9- lies and false witness… (Again, no limit is given on the size… The Bible simply does not support the idea of white lies)
10- coveting… (A really tough one in a world of advertising & media, but if you think about it, this is often at the heart of corruption & sin, large & small, so take it seriously!)