June 5, 2019

Poverty Does Not Cause Corruption

Poverty Does Not Cause Corruption

Poverty does not cause corruption. The story as told to me by a Kenyan goes something like this:

“A little Kenyan boy is told by his teacher that there will be school pictures next week. He must bring 50 Kenyan Shillings (KSh) if he wants to have his picture made. In reality, the pictures only cost 40KSh, but the teacher added 10KSh for himself. The boy goes home and tells his mother that there will be pictures made at school and it will cost 60KSh if she wants him to have his picture made. Therefore, the mother tells the father and asks for 70KSh. Where does it end?”

It must end in the home! Taking bribes, padding costs, using imperfect weights and measures are all forbidden by the scriptures. Here are a few from the Bible:

Proverbs 15:27 — Greed brings grief to the whole family, but those who hate bribes will live.

Proverbs 11:1 — The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights inaccurate weights.

Matthew 28:12-15 — A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. They told the soldiers, “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble.” So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. 

Again and again, the scriptures warn us not to take bribes. Likewise, corruption hinders economic development because it transfers wealth from the powerless to the powerful. Christians need to understand that accepting bribes is stealing. Accepting a bribe is taking something that does not rightfully belong to you. By reducing or removing bribery, this eliminates a pernicious tax on families, businesses, and governments: it frees up resources for practical and worthwhile purposes.

Poverty does not cause corruption, but corruption causes poverty. Stopping bribery and corruption will not be easy to do in your life. But someone thought it was worth going to the cross for your life. Jesus asks us to take up our cross and follow Him.

Jon-Roy Sloan
Author of “Anastasia Smiles: Love Needs No Translation”

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CPI 2018