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Root it out

"By justice a king gives a country stability, but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down." Proverbs 29.4

Corruption is the rotten fruit of human greed. It distorts relationships, ruin reputations and undermines families. The range of its malevolent consequences is well captured in the description by the social charity CARE: "Corruption poses a significant threat; it weakens democratic institutions, contributes to government instability and erodes trust. Corruption threatens the economy by undermining fair competition and discouraging investment and trade. It disproportionately affects disadvantaged groups by preventing social inclusion, promoting inequality and inhibiting prosperity."

The scourge of corruption continues to hamper the development of many poor countries, with supporters wary about investing in regimes that are notorious for syphoning off large proportions of what is intended for the betterment of the societies for which they are responsible. I was shocked that, even in an apparently sophisticated democracy like Argentina, politicians are assumed to be corrupt.

But it's not just politicians that are at it, nor does corruption exist only in developing countries. We are all vulnerable to the allure of easy money, tax avoidance, short cuts. Resisting temptation begins in each of our hearts and requires a conscious resolution of our mind. Embedded in the Lord's Prayer is the petition: "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil..."

If resistance to temptation requires supernatural intervention, does that make non-believers without hope of escaping its clutches? We should let God be the judge of that. Our responsibility is to avail ourselves of every natural and divine aid to root out the poison - from our own lives and from our life together in the church. Being salt and light in our communities is less about criticising the behaviour of others and more about modelling the virtues and attitudes we profess in our own behaviour.



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