by Cherie-Lynn van der Merwe
“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
The word corruption has almost become a buzzword on our lips. From daily news channels to conversations between business partners, the word corruption appears consistently. Sadly, any appearance of corrupt activity no longer seems to shock us. It has become the norm, and it has the potential to squeeze life and love from our society slowly.
If this sounds overly dramatic, consider the fact that corruption disempowers people who wish to openly and honestly engage in their community. Corruption is responsible for moving resources away from those most in need to those who already have more than their share.
Corruption causes those meant to serve and protect us from harm to either disregard its wrongs or become complicit in it. Worst of all, corruption has so tainted the way we view one another – seeing each other as “guilty until proven innocent”, and as such, we have become unfree to love as the Great Commandment (Mt 22:36-40) invites us to do, for fear of becoming corruption’s next victim in one way or another. So, are we saying all is lost?
Consider with me Genesis 18:16-33. God promised Abraham that no matter how sinful society may become, God would spare those who tried to live a good life. That does not mean our lives will be without challenges. Many of us or someone we love will experience the pain and trauma of corruption. What we must not lose sight of is that God does not leave us alone.
When Jesus faced his unfair trial and crucifixion brought about by corrupt spiritual, political and judicial leadership, his mother, Mary, was traumatised. God did not leave her to face it alone. The beloved disciple John and her close friends stayed at her side. Even from his suffering on the cross, Jesus ensured she understood she had support (John 19:26-27).
Perhaps the response of many of us in this time of societal brokenness is to counter the movement of corruption’s division and death with that of love and righteous unity.
Yes, speaking out against the cancer of corruption is good and right. We must hold the perpetrators to account for what they have/are doing. It is essential to introduce safeguards to be able to stop corruption before it happens. But supporting and comforting those suffering from corruption’s evil is equally important. We must not lose our ability to love. Support for those who have lost possessions or dignity is desperately needed. Companionship for those who feel trapped, overwhelmed, lonely or traumatised should be foremost on our minds.
If you have been a victim of corrupt activity, Jesus’ teachings may feel really hard to live. As Jesus hung on the cross, his own teaching would have echoed in his mind as his own righteous living did not seem to have saved him from suffering. And yet he could still invite the thief on the cross next to him to join him in paradise (Luke 23:42-43).
As followers of Christ, I suggest we deal with corruption in this way: First, bring all corrupt activity into the light to deal with it. Second, be aware of victims of any kind and support them with love and understanding. Finally, ray for perpetrators and those who face temptation, that God’s grace may save them.