A month doesn’t go by without another story accusing a politician of some form of corruption. It seems that more and more leaders are risking their political careers by doing things that are either unethical or illegal. Both political parties have their villains. Through the years, Democrats and Republicans have seen their share of men and women who have fallen from grace.
The purpose of this blog is to try and figure out what goes wrong. How could otherwise fine men and women with decades of public service fall so quick and so hard? Do they think that they wouldn’t get caught? Often, money and power are the contributing factors to this mess.
The tragedy here goes beyond the life and career of a few individuals. It extends to their immediate families who may be visiting them in jail for years to come. It tarnishes the image of the United States of America and forces many Americans to be suspicious of their leaders. This leads to division in a time when national unity is so very needed. It sends the unmistakable image to many that politicians are all corrupt and are only in it for themselves. With the political rhetoric on both sides of the aisle boiling over in Washington, is our country turning into the same type of machine that rules countries like Nigeria?
Happily, I believe the answer is a resounding “NO!” In Nigeria, many of the politicians are corrupt and they get away with it. I visited Nigeria in March. I was shocked by the level of bribery and corruption at every level of society. I asked my host why the trash piles along the roadside hadn’t been picked up.
He tried to force a smile but instead shook his head. “The government pays the trash service of Nigeria to clean up this mess but it doesn’t get done,” he began.
I stared out the window of our car. “Then why doesn’t it get picked up?” I asked.
“Because the government official who doles out the money to the contractor keeps half of it for himself, and the other half goes to the contractor,” he explained with a casual indifference.
“Can’t the contractor at least get part of the job done?” I wondered as a burned up car passed my view.
“The contractor takes the money, yes,” he began, “but then he decides to not do the work. It’s a racquet. Since they are all in bed together, nobody turns in the other person.”
“What about the courts and judges, can’t they do something about it?” I wondered.
He shook his head. “They are in on it! All of them!”
When the darkness of political corruption comes into the light, there are still enough good men and women who desire justice to do something about it. For the most part, our court system and media have the power and the will to call the powerful on the carpet when bribery or extortion is suspected. Americans still demand justice. Lady Liberty is blindfolded for a reason. There is nobody, from the President of the United States down to the State Delegate who is above the law.
The Good Book teaches that “pride comes before the fall.” Pride is an insidious serpent to the hearts of men. No, you can’t legislate a law against pride, yet pride and arrogance is at the root of political corruption, but most of the sins that we commit. Pride tells us that we deserve it. Pride whispers to us that we won’t get caught, that everybody does it. Pride often shouts to us that we are so important that the infraction that we are ready to commit is no big deal. Pride leads us down a slippery slope of deceit that can land us in jail here on earth, and much worse in the afterlife.
The Bible teaches that Satan, the great deceiver and enemy of our souls, was once the most beautiful and powerful angel that God created. Over time, Satan, who was created like mankind with a free will to love God or discard Him, chose to ditch His Creator. Once pride entered the Devil’s heart, he decided that he wanted to be like God. He desired the worship and prestige that only God deserves. He figured, being the most beautiful and most powerful of the created spirits, that he was uniquely qualified to challenge God’s authority. Pride did this and it resulted in a war in heaven! Of course, God won the war and quickly kicked out Satan and the one-third of angels that followed his lead. Today, we call those angels demons, and they are active on earth today warring for the minds and souls of men and women across planet earth.
His most subtle temptation is pride. The book of Psalms 10:4 beautifully states, “In his pride the wicked man does not seek Him; in all of his thoughts there is no room for God.” A few years ago, wristbands began to pop up all across the country with the initials, “W.W.J.D.” What would Jesus do? Pride takes that question and throws it to the curb. Pride erases God from the equation and replaces it with selfish ambition and vain living. Pride takes our God-given conscience and turns it off.
Is there “room for God” in your life? The Lord has a unique way of humbling man when he steps outside the boundaries of His moral law. He doesn’t do it because He is mean and vicious and is trying to get even, but rather to get our attention and lead us to a point in our lives where we begin to make room for Him in our lives. Godly discipline is meant to restore our souls and bring us life. Too many today have no room for God in their lives. America is inching closer to corruption on God’s moral compass.
Yet, I still believe there is hope for the future. I am praying for a revival in America. God wants the best for us and will do what is necessary (no matter how difficult it might seem to us at the time) to restore America to the place she once possessed. God is a God of second chances. I pray that we as Americans will make room for Him in our lives and take that chance the Lord is offering us. Time is running out.