Role of Christians in a Corrupt Society

I. What makes up the Society today?

Society as it is now constituted is a group of people with whom we live of which we are part. Some members may be high economically, educationally, status wise and others may be much below in the hierarchy. The components of society change constantly as lower class, middle class, upper class etc.

Imagine the Society in which Christ lived. The Pharisees, the Seduces, the rich, the powerful, the poor, the downtrodden masses. Every Society undergoes changes and has a value system accepted generally, but rarely codified. Present day Society also has socially accepted. Social, moral and ethical norms, society is in a constant state of change, flex, Christian are also part of this Society.

II. How has the Society become corrupt?
When social values change, deteriorate, Society is said to decay. Some segments decay more than the other. The culture of corruption allows the so called “leaders of the society” to indulge in corruption Nepotism, favouritism. The social values are tarnished. If the top man accepts bribe what prevents. The lowly peon accepting a few rupees as gift. Corruption sets in when some members of society, who cannot get what they want by acceptable means, resort to dubious ways to get it. Bribery becomes the norm and Nepotism, favouritism and all kinds of corruption set in. There who are not willing or able to go the way of the so called smart people are called honest fools. They are not known to the tricks of the trade and are not smart enough to get the things done. The crooked dishonest corrupt rule the day leaving the honest to console themselves in their fate. The decay sets in from top and penetrates to the bottom. Then society as a whole became corrupt. A gift in secret soothes anger and a bribe behind the back (pacifies) strong wrath. (Proverb 21.14)

III. Dimensions of Corruption
Corruption is a Hydra-Leaded monster. It is like an Octopus with different tentacles which ultimately annihilates both the given and the taken and demoralises society. It corrodes the vital-like cancer. Many questions arise when we want to define corruption. It is only monitory corruption? Does it not include misuse of public/private office, position by a few if no money is involved does it not amount to corruption? We talk of political corruption. Are the bureaucracy, the judiciary, churches, religious group free from such corruption? Are social organisations free from it ?

If someone wants to favour his colleague caste fellow, relatives, dependents without involving money, does it not amount to corruption? Is it confined to high places political parties and religious heads only and do we want to corrupt religion with these practices? Are poojas, offering and sacrifices free from corruption?

(IV) Origin and growth of corruption
Corruption originates from the human mind. The mind desires certain comforts, luxuries, materials, physical and emotional satisfaction. When this pursuit is followed with intensity any obstruction coming in is vented. Take for example, the desire to have a house, car, money or any other comfort/convenience. How many people would opt for hard work, when these objectives can be achieved by slightly deviant method? If a house can be constructed by a contractor, who is obligated to you at a liner amount, how many would pay and actual cost? The opportunity to make a quick buck, the easy way is temptation few can resist. If a job can be given to your nephew, why give it to someone who is more qualified? Is not Nepotism a way of corruption? The king estimates the land justice, but he who receives bribe overthrows it (Proverb, 29.4)

(V) Poverty, Corruption and the under privileged
The impact of corruption is felt more by the poor. A patient has to be admitted in the hospital. Every ward boy, nurse and the doctor requires the palms to be greased. This is not only in the Government hospitals but all the departments in the State too. Who will attend to your telephone or electricity connection without money. When you say that they are paid for doing this work they point to the higher ups who extract hundred time more when the money offered is not up to their expectations they say that it has to be made for burglary. No FIR can be filed without shelling out money, you may be born with anger at the innumerable way of exploitation of the poor. You may curse the helplessness of poverty. The system is entrenched so deeply in corruption, that there seems to be no way out. Demoralisation sets in and we are forced to throw up hands in despair. The poor are effected more than the rich pushing them to greater and greater despair surely oppression destroys a wise man’s reason and a bribe corrupts the heart (Ecc1e 7.7)

(VI) Changes in the Standards
There was a time when moral and ethical standards were held high in India. Moral principles used to permeate every strata of Society. Teachers used to inculcate high moral values. Now there are no more moralists, no more Gandhians, no more spiritual leaders, who renounce everything for the truth. The honest day’s work and honest day’s pay no more exist. New generation worships at the alter of mammon, money solves all problems.

All the foul deeds will be covered by money power and there is no more work culture, but only money culture.

Can corruption be curbed by fear of law and punishment? We have many laws to prevent corruption and bring the culprits to punishment. The Indian Penal Code, Prevention of corruption Act, Criminal Procedure Code, Commission of Enquiries Act etc are a few. How many commissions have been appointed and their reports gathering dust in the archives? What is happening to the Lok Ayaktha and Lok Pal Bills? What has happened to Bofers Scam. Airlines deal, ABB Loco deal, Jain Hawala racket, Securities Scam, Telcom Scam, Fodder Scam, 2 G Scam etc. Every High Court, Criminal Court and magistrate Court have a huge heap of pending case.

Justice delayed is justice denied. How many cases have become infractions due to change of Government, death of persons involved and inordinate delays. Our judicial system is so time consuming and frustration is the only end product. People have no more faith in the judicial system ‘because the sentence against an evil is not executed speedily, therefore the hearts of people are fully set in them to do evil (Eccle 8.11).
(VII) The role of the Church
In this dismal situation, can the Church play any part? Let us look back at history in the first century. Church every thing was held up common. People sold every thing and brought to the feet of the apostles. Today, this type of common ownership and sharing of wealth is no more practical. However, the Church has a very powerful role to play in the fight against corruption. In the present day Church, there is scope for corruption Church property, Church schools, colleges and institutions offer opportunities for corruption. Are appointment, transfer, promotion done on the basis of merit? Can we say, bishops, clergy, principals powerful committee members are free from favouritism and corruption? Instances of corruption are numerous. In this circumstances what can Churches do? Churches should issue guideline and rules for appointment, transfer posting, financial transaction, accountability for gifts, benefits travel expenses etc. There should be democratic process of chides and balance in all transactions and institutions.

(VIII) The role of Christian Society
What can the Christian do? The Christian should be free from all corruption and its manifestations. Every Christian should make a vow before God that he should not accept bribe in any form or accept any favour from anyone against the precepts of the Bible or against  own conscience. In case of any doubt we should go by the spirit of the word of God. And you should take no bribe for a bribe blinds the discussing and prevents the word of the righteous (Exodus 23.8).

(IX) Dissuade other from corruption
Rather than adopting a policy of new interference when corruption predominates, the Christian should act as an agent against corruption by example, gentle persuasion and candid advice, there can not be any compromise with corruption.

Propagate ideas of integrity honestly
It is possible that others who are corrupt may ridicule and hurt you as they find you as an obstruction nuisance to their plans of making money. However, if you can convert even a single person to your view, you can work as a team give all support to these who see corruption as an evil, propagate Biblical truths against corruption pray that the corrupt may realise their fally and come to the path of truth.

Evangelise : Jesus had said that you are the salt of the Earth. It is mandatory for the Christians to be free from corruption. He has a duty to propagate values which will eliminate corruption. Do Christians pray daily intensively, fervently that the society may get rid of corruption that justice may permeate society. The writer is Retd. Director of Education (Schools)

Courtesy: NK Shimray, The writer is Retd. Director of Education (Schools)