“To address corruption and integrity, one must begin with the condition of one’s own life. Do I strive to practice integrity, to be open to reformation by God, to become more holy? It is not enough to condemn big bribery scandals or power-seeking individuals. We also have to examine ourselves.
Robert Osburn, Jr. concludes his most recent book, Taming the Beast, with a paraphrase of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-11):
If you suffer poverty, corrupt wealth is utterly inferior to living under God’s eternal rule and reign (v. 3: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven).
If you must suffer loss in your pursuit of an honest life, your sorrows will always be met by the comforting, encouraging friendship of those you have treated kindly and honestly (v. 4: Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted).
Although you could manipulate people with your money, how much greater is the restrained use of your power (‘meek’) for others’ good; the result will be that people will demand that you become their leader (‘inherit the earth’) (v. 5: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth).
Whereas greed and corruption are never satisfied, the deep, passionate desire for justice and holiness always satisfies, day after day (v. 6: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied).
Rather than making demands for bribes, showing mercy and kindness to people makes them want to shower you with the same mercy and kindness (v. 7: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy).
Those who are not corrupt have nothing to hide and will not only never fear others but also never fear the face of God (v. 8: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God).
Those who help others to be reconciled with each other will be wealthy beyond imagination, for as God’s children they will inherit the wealth of His kingdom (v. 9: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be call sons of God).
If, in your pursuit of godliness, the corrupt make your life miserable, remember what the poor person knows so very well: nothing can compare with the glories of living under God’s rule and reign (v. 10: Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven).
If you are mercilessly attacked for living a life of honesty and purity, take great joy in two facts: 1) The Old Testament prophets suffered similarly, and that means you are in good company; and 2) You will have a greater reward than the richest corrupt leader could ever imagine (vv. 11-12: Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you).”
Robert Osburn, Jr. in Taming the Beast: Can We Bridle The Culture of Corruption? (St. Paul: Wilberforce Press, 2016) 225-226
If you examined yourself, what would you find? Confidence? Concern? Conviction? Take a moment to read the paraphrase of the Beatitudes again.
If confidence grows within you linked to life under God’s reign, then pray that others will also grasp it by following your example.
If concern deepens for the brokenness of the world, then fast before God and call on Him to sort challenges only He can sort and show you your role.
If conviction pricks your heart, then confess your sin and find freedom and forgiveness. Jesus wants to give you a new start beginning today.
The pathway to integrity starts by simply walking in obedience one day at a time. As you do, say a prayer for my meetings in Chattanooga to continue to go well. So far so good. Thanks God.Read more