Clapperton Mayuni is the Executive Director of the Bible Society of Malawi.
We live in an environment where corruption is always talked about as an evil; and yet, each passing day or year proves that corruption is actually on the increase. Corruption has permeated all strata of the Malawian Society such that even in the church it has grown its roots. This now raises the question – “What can we do about it because it is becoming the norm instead of being the exception?”
We need to realize that corruption happens on personal, cultural, institutional and organizational levels and one would find that the solutions to combating it have to address all these areas. The reasons for the increase in corruption range from personal greed, lack of a sense of service for those entrusted with public office in carrying out their duties, lack of transparency in the way things are done in organizations, to a lack of proper regulations and inefficient controls in service delivery and indeed the lack of proper punitive processes where corruption is actually exposed.
Corruption happens on personal, cultural, institutional and organizational levels; and one would find that the solutions to combating it have to address all these areas.
I was recently challenged to reflect that “The Cash Gate Scandal” in our nation, where millions of kwachas were looted from public funds, was a collective condemnation because, somehow, we all are party to it. Our levels of tolerance to corrupt practices are very high so that even those people actually caught feel they are not worse off after all, because we have also shared the loot with them without questioning the source. And before the dust could settle on The Cash Gate Scandal the public media was awash with the story of one big church denomination being asked by donors to return funds which had been abused.
Just a few days ago I was personally confronted – not for the first time – by a traffic police officer who charged me for speeding. I accepted my offence and pleaded for mercy to pay a lesser fee, which was accepted. However, when the actual payment was made I was shocked to find the officer not giving me a receipt but instead just pocketing the cash for himself. I wondered to myself how I would avoid a similar situation next time round.
Regardless of the level of corruption one is dealing with, be it at a personal level or institutional level the Word of God has counsel on how we should handle it. First we need to realize the gravity of the sin that corruption is. Secondly we need to address the root causes of it. Thirdly we need to share some practical solutions that will help others to avoid the same evils we are dealing with today so that we promote a godly culture that will abhor corruption and celebrate people of integrity in our midst.
We cannot expect people to change their ways if the moral compass as enshrined in the Word of God is not taught.
There are several Scriptures that point out the gravity of the sin of corruption, which is often also tied to bribery.
In all these references we see that corruption perverts justice, deprives the poor of their needed support and it breaks the moral fiber of society.
. Now let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Judge carefully for with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery. (1 Chronicles 19.7)
Do not be misled, bad company corrupts good character. (1 Corinthians 15.33)
For the Love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6.10)
Unless people are taught the reverence of the Lord and learn to walk in His counsel, it is difficult to deal with corruption. Bad company is also key to some innocent or non-discerning people who find themselves caught in corrupt practices.
Teach wisdom - The wise man had this to say in the beginning of his book: Proverbs 1.2–7
2 for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight;
3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young--
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance--
6 for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
We cannot expect people to change their ways if the moral compass as enshrined in the Word of God is not taught. This teaching and learning has to be passed on from one generation to the other otherwise everyone will be walking according to the influences of their life.
Seek integrity of heart - A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. (Proverbs 22.1)
There are many people who have pierced their hearts with much pain, all for the sake of money.
Unfortunately we have not celebrated people of integrity and in so doing we have not encouraged others to seek to live a morally upright life that abhors corruption to the core.
We are called to be the salt of the earth and therefore the status quo should make us very uncomfortable. This should motivate us to not take it as the norm. We need to realign ourselves to the call of God on our lives and live as He would have us live in a wicked and depraved generation.
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