There was a day when turning the newspapers I read several reports of bribery locally and abroad.
These include high profile cases in China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia and even our supposedly least corrupt Singapore. They ranged from high officials, top businessmen, and professionals, even Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau staff to low-level employees.
Bribery is so prevalent that it is deemed an ultimate bane of every society.
The Bible gives us insight as to why it is so widespread.
“Some people think a bribe works like magic; they believe it can do anything” (Proverbs 17:8 GNT).
“A secret gift calms anger; a bribe under the table pacifies fury” (Proverbs 21:14 NLT).
“A person will do wrong for a piece of bread” (Proverbs 28:21 NIV).
The Bible is not condoning bribery but telling us why it happens so often. It is because bribery often works.
Many people turned to bribery thinking it is a fast road to high position, power, control, results and the help they need. All of which doubt the goodness of God to provide.
In giving the Laws to His people, God make it clear:
“Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent” (Exodus 23:8 NIV).
Bribery perverts justice and is the fastest lane towards a decadent society.
“A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back to pervert the ways of justice” (Proverbs 17:23 NKJV).
A leader who seeks bribes destroys himself, his family and his own country. And we have seen it.
“By justice a king gives a country stability, but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down” (Proverbs 29:4 NIV).
When bribery becomes a way of life for civil servants, business people, executives and professionals, it harms the entire community for it destroys trust, made us cynical and distrust the very people we should regard as principled and honorable.
Even before the Law of Moses, Jethro gave this advice: “Find some capable, godly, honest men who hate bribes.” (Exodus 18:21 TLB)
This Midianite father-in-law of Moses saw with crystal clarity that a society could only be strong if the leaders do not take bribes.
This Good Friday we are again reminded that the Son of God was betrayed over a bribe of 30 pieces of silver.
Bribery is the bane of society. I thank God that ours is a society that has zero tolerance for bribery.
Don’t take bribes. Don’t offer bribes.