It cannot be denied that the nation was rocked this year with unprecedented allegations of corruption. And because it is Christmas, let me dwell on this topic in the context of what the Bible says about corruption.
Corruption undermines what God instructs us to do. In Isaiah. 58:66, God instructed the faithful: “Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”
Given this mandate, all those who professed to be Christians must be activists by heart. For in a country like ours- with an ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor, Christians were clearly mandated to side with the poor and the oppressed.
Corruption goes against this tenet because instead of pubic funds being spent to alleviate the plight of the poor, it goes to the pockets of those who rely on politics as their business. Instead of going to food, shelter, and education, especially to those ravaged by the recent earthquakes and typhoon Yolanda, it is squandered by those who bought their public office using ironically, public funds at that. Worse, goods given in the name of charity have not been spared by these thieves. Already, the international donor community has lambasted this government for widespread instances of thievery involving goods intended to alleviate the sufferings of our most unfortunate.
Furthermore, corruption is a kind of injustice. A writer wrote: “after idolatry, justice is the most frequent theme in the Scriptures. God’s people are called to expose and reject false idols, and challenge society where the poor are disadvantaged. The false idol of money gives birth to corruption, and corruption disadvantages the poor. Corruption works by hiding things that should be known by secrecy and lies. To counter corruption we must ‘shine a light’; expose what is hidden and uncover the truth.”
The Bible clearly strongly opposes corruption and bribery. The Bible says: “You shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of the righteous” (Exodus 23:8). God condemns financial dishonesty again and again in the Bible: “The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights.” (Prov 11:1)
“God’s intention for people is flourishing life for all. “(John 10:10)
Corruption hurts the poor the most. Christians should take this to heart because God cares for the poor. God told the Israelites to “leave a portion of their harvest for the poor and immigrants (Lev 19:9-10, Deut 24:19-22). Additionally, everyone’s tithings were collected into town to be redistributed amongst the poor, widows, orphans, and foreigners (Deut 14:28-29). Likewise, in the book of Acts, the early Christian community (Acts 2:44-45, 4:32-35) “organized to shared their possessions in common, for the common good”. Individual charity is incredibly important to Christians; however, organized redistribution through taxation is crucial to ensuring the poor are cared for.
The prophet Isaiah tells us a what things will be like when God’s king is on the throne: “His governance and reign is completely free from corruption and injustice.”(Isaiah 9:6-7)
This Christmas season, let us reflect on the true spirit of Christmas: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.”
Merry Christmas to one and all!