What is corruption? The simple definition of corruption is misuse of power for private benefit. Corruption is an age-old phenomenon, first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 6:12, “God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt”. Of course, corruption can be traced to the first sin in Genesis, which was of disobedience. Corruption is the result of sin. Corruption affects us all.
How does corruption spread? The infection can begin with one simple bribe. If this simple infection is not treated well, it can spread like a virus and can affect the whole body of the organization. For example, if one person pays a bribe to win a sales order, the quality and price are of no consequence after that. The whole deal is compromised because someone tried to make a quick buck.
The impact is not only for the buyer but also for the seller. The seller does not care about the quality and price of the product any more. It would look for and foster unethical relationships that bring in business. It may work in the short run but it brings a lot of serious negative effects in the long run. The brand value takes a beating, and employees’ trust and confidence are compromised. Ultimately, the morale goes down, leading to the weakening of the organization that may even lead to closure. Such can be the impact of a small bribe.
Many times, organizations display in bold letters their zero tolerance policy to corruption. They make it known across the organization and even to the whole ecosystem they work in. This way, it becomes quite apparent that the organization or individual stands for integrity and moral values.
How is God using ordinary people to turn the tide of corruption? A simple infection needs a simple treatment. In other words, the treatment has to happen at the initial stage. Let me provide a three-step principle.
Firstly, a line regarding non-negotiables needs to be drawn. It has to be clearly articulated. Secondly, learning to say “no” when faced with a situation is important. It requires boldness and courage. But once it is done, the rest of the road gets easier to traverse. Thirdly, it is important to make known to people around the values and principles one stands for. Once people know it, they may not even approach the person or the organization about unethical practices.
Truth is our biggest weapon. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:15, “Speak the truth in love." It is really important to speak the truth because once this is clear, people value it.
We don’t need big strategies, grandiose plans or any such things. Ordinary people are motivated to practice the three-step principle above, and a lot is already changing. Fight corruption can be contagious and once some people start it, more people are motivated to join. Slowly, it can take the shape of a movement, which can bring in lasting change.