Truly, corruption can greatly affect the quality of life in a country. And where the justice system is open to being bought, it may be hard to feel happy about your neighbors and your country.
While laws play a key role, ultimately eliminating corruption requires changing attitudes and perceptions. And here our concept of God enters the picture. Does humanity labor under a misconception of God, and does that “corrupted” sense of God color our perception of those around us—lowering our expectation of ourselves and others, diminishing our expectation of quality of life?
When St. Paul preached on Mars’ Hill in Athens, he educated his listeners about the “unknown God” (Acts 17:23). He put aside the stereotypes about God as being a far-off spiritual being who created the world and generally leaves it up to us to be moral or not, and then punishes us here or hereafter for our behavior. He defined God as knowable.
Looking at the four Gospels in the Bible, one finds that Jesus knew God profoundly. His actions indicate the nature of God most clearly—in his being merciful and forgiving, and in reforming the corrupt (see John 8:1–11, Luke 23:34, and Luke 19:1–10, respectively). Jesus taught and illustrated that God is infinite good and expresses only good—not evil—in each of us, His children.
God as infinite good means that we never need to fear that we will not have enough. As we are motivated by the love of God and the love of our fellowman, we discover that God gives us all that we need to go forward in His service, and that skirting the law is not necessary or helpful for us to progress. Further, God as infinite good also means that we need not be victimized by someone looking to exploit us.
I had a conversation with a Christian Scientist in a developing country, a person who knows well the teaching that there is one all-powerful good, which is God. Fully aware of their corrupt educational system, he had explained to his five children that he would never pay a bribe. Rather, he told them that he expected that each of them would see everyone, classmates and professors, as being created in God’s image and likeness—honest, intelligent, fair, and loving. And that’s what they did. They all graduated without either being exploited or paying a bribe.
Mary Baker Eddy in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures wrote: “Take away wealth, fame, and social organizations, which weigh not one jot in the balance of God, and we get clearer views of Principle. Break up cliques, level wealth with honesty, let worth be judged according to wisdom, and we get better views of humanity” (p. 239).
What practical, spiritual ideas for helping you and your country—and indeed all humanity—progress in every way, and be free of corruption!
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