Tag Archives: corruption

Special Treatment for the Corrupt

They didn’t say it out loud, but the people in line resented me as I was ushered to the front and given the best seat on Space Mountain in Disneyland.  “Hey, Buddy, we been standing in line for an hour…”  They didn’t say it because they assumed I was some important celebrity who naturally would receive special treatment.  (Actually, I simply knew a guy who worked the ride.)  We have gotten used to it when so-called important people get the best seats, free tickets, etc.  I suppose all that, as screwy as it is (because they could most afford to pay for those perks…), is relatively harmless.

But, in fact, those same important people sometimes also get a free pass when they break the law.  Most of us grudgingly accept that, too, knowing there is little we can do about it.  Perhaps it would help to know that God is angry about it too.  He says,

22 Woe to those …
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
but deny justice to the innocent.    (Isaiah 5:22a & 23)

Those who get away with breaking the law, who think they deserve special treatment because they are better or more powerful than the rest of us, should pay careful attention to the first word quoted above, “Woe…”  “Woe” may not seem to be such a deal unless you remember that it was dictated by Almighty God.  If your neighbor’s kid says, “Woe…” to you, you might shrug it off.  But if it turns out he’s a champion fighter in the UFC, well, then you got a problem.  But if God says, “Woe…” you’ve got a whole lot more than a mere problem.  Here’s what God has planned for those to whom He says, “Woe…”

24 Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw
and as dry grass sinks down in the flames,
so their roots will decay
and their flowers blow away like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty
and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.  (Isaiah 5:24)

There will come a day, God says, when the corrupt will be destroyed as with fire and will no longer be able to propagate their injustice (their roots and flowers will decay and blow away).  If you have been angry about someone getting treated as though the laws do not apply, take heart.  However, while you are taking heart, also take note:  this outcome is for those who “have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned [His]… Word.”

Who Ultimately Pays for Corruption?

Newsflash: Corrupt government officials have been enriching themselves by “selling” favorable decisions to interested parties who are willing to pay.  The payments are usually carefully disguised as “gifts” or “donations” to avoid the appearance of corruption.  Surprised?  Of course not; it’s been happening on both sides of the aisle for as long as the aisle has been there.

But those who sell their influence should heed this warning.  It does not come from the media, or the public, or from any watchdog agency.  It comes from God.  He sent this warning to the leaders of His own people, but it applies universally, to every nation and across all party lines:

“Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches?” (Isaiah 10:1-3)

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

What Corrupts Government

Two words explain the root of what is wrong with our government.  You thought I was going to say Republican and Democrat.  Sorry…   Good guess, but those aren’t the two I was thinking of.  And it’s not just our government.  These two words define the problem with every system of government.  Which two?  Selfish ambition.  The reason governments don’t work well is that those who gravitate to positions of authority over others tend to be people who are ambitious and selfish.  Of course I’m not talking about your favorite leader.  But I am talking about the majority of those who claw their way up into positions of influence and power.  Consider this:

“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” (James 3:14-16)

In the United States, our leaders are supposed to represent and serve the people.  Too often they behave as though the people are supposed to serve them.  But the same root problem exists in repressive dictatorships.  The people who manage to get to the top tend to be self-centered and driven.  That’s not the kind of personality that works best to govern.

Imagine if our governments were filled with people who were described like this:

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. “ (James 3:17-18, NIV)

Next time you start thinking about someone in government, take a moment to pray for her or him.  Ask God to fill them with those qualities which are developed from within by His Spirit, and to protect them from the destructive attitudes of the world.  Then pray, “Thy Kingdom come…”

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.


How Could Leaders be so Dumb?

They should have known better; that’s the frightening thing.  They were leaders, trusted by the people to lead and guide, and yet, they ultimately did exactly the wrong thing!  Like trusted leaders so frequently do…  But God knew they would do it and incorporated their blindness and stupidity into His “Greatest Plan.”

” Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death …”” (Matthew 20:17-18)

The chief priests and scribes (Bible scholars) should have known about “The Son of Man.”  They had studied about the prophet, Daniel, and had memorized his vision:

““In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)

Daniel saw Someone like a human being (a son of man) Who also was an equal to God.  God gave Him “all authority, glory and sovereign power” and He is worshiped by all peoples.  The priests and scribes should have known “The Son of Man” was Jesus.  Why?  He used that title for Himself more than any other.  Moreover, He proved it to them!  After declaring to a paralytic that his sins were forgiven, and being accused of blasphemy (because only God can forgive sins), Jesus said:

“… “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” And the man got up and went home.” (Matthew 9:4b-7)

They should have known that Jesus was “the Son of Man,” the Savior sent by God.  The proof was tangible. They should have humbly begged Him to forgive their sins.  But instead, they, the religious leaders, condemned Him to death.   

Why were they so blind?  I believe they felt threatened by Jesus, felt their positions of importance and authority were in jeopardy.  Too often people in leadership positions care more about maintaining their position and privilege than they do about doing the right thing.  It’s a characteristic flaw in humans.

God knew that and used it.

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.