Roughly 27% of people worldwide have paid a bribe to a government agency in the last 12 months, according to the latest Global Corruption Barometer report from Transparency International. The survey covered more than 114,000 people across 107 countries, the Wall Street Journal reports, and on the bright side, two-thirds said they refused to pay up when asked for bribes . . . Sierra Leone took the cake with 84% of people paying up, while upright Japan, Australia, and Denmark each had only 1%. The US came in at 7%, but all is hardly hunky dory here, with 76% saying they believed the political parties were affected by corruption.
America is not immune to bribery. A convicted, former mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, admitted that he accepted bribes from developers. Even in the much-respected military, two high-ranking naval officers were implicated in a bribery scandal in which:
Navy insiders directed ships in the Asia-Pacific region to dock at specific ports so a Navy contractor could then overcharge for services by millions of dollars. In exchange, the contractor provided the Navy officials with luxury vacations, access to prostitutes, and, in one case, tickets to a Gaga concert.
Exodus 23:8—You must not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and corrupts the words of the righteous.
The Bible mentions bribery at least 28 times. Moses unequivocally instructed the Israelites to act like God who takes no bribes (Deuteronomy 10:17). Moses’ father-in-law counseled him when choosing officials to select God-fearing men who abhorred bribes (Exodus 18:21). When Jesus rose from the dead the soldiers who guarded His tomb were given a large sum of money by the religious leaders to claim that while they were sleeping His disciples stole His body (Matthew 28:12,13). That single act still reverberates today as there are people who believe this lie and refuse to put their trust in Christ.
Bribery blinds the clear-sighted. It impairs integrity and perverts justice. Solomon taught in Proverbs 15:27 and Ecclesiastes 7:7, “The one who profits dishonestly troubles his household, but the one who hates bribes will live . . . Surely, the practice of extortion turns a wise person into a fool, and a bribe destroys the mind.” Paying-off people may be the cultural norm and certainly historically was a common practice, but it is not worth it. Guard your reputation! Do what is right; even if it is costly, God will reward you in the end. The real test is in whom we place our trust.
There are signs that civilization is coming to an end. Violence is everywhere. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer obey their parents.—Chiseled on an Assyrian tablet—3000 B.C.
©2016 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)