Each time I write an article about a leadership challenge, I look at it from a personal perspective and how I can first purify my own heart on the said issue. My mantra is, don’t go removing the speck in another’s eye before checking for the log in your own eye. I am not saying I am perfect – no, not at all. None is righteous – but I am, by God’s grace striving to be the salt of the earth.
Stories of corruption in our country have become the norm. I mean, we have become so corrupt that we have lost all feeling. We have become such a sick people and we are paying the price for being corrupt with the lives of our children and fellow men.
But where does this corruption really begin? If we know where it begins then it is easy to see it for what it is and then work on finding a solution. Does the life or heart of man become corrupted first?
Having worked in law enforcement, seen first-hand the rot in this nation, and working tirelessly to put in place systems that will curb the vice, I am fully convinced that corruption is a matter of the heart. No matter how many laws are implemented, unless the change is from within a person, then all our works are of no consequence.
There is an inner conflict that is present in every person. The conflict or battle is the tension that exists between what is right, and what we want – our desires. We find that we regularly want things that are not right. Our desires and our values do not always match. Unless the ignorant and hardened heart of man is changed, then there is no fixing this vice. My friends, all trouble starts from the heart. Our hearts are sick. People always think that man’s head is messed up, but I say no, it is the heart that is messed up.
If a man wants to change his conduct, his heart must first be changed. I can give good reasons to people who do not believe in reasons for the existence of God and they respond by saying “this sounds very reasonable”. I can then tell them the reason that the Lord is the Savior. Again, they respond by saying that this sounds very reasonable. But this is not enough to make them believe. Man’s head is not hardened in nature; his heart is. We refuse to believe in that which does not serve our selfish desires.
Corruption is just a symptom. The core of the problem is a hardened heart. I am not saying that the person’s actions are not wrong in themselves, what I am saying here is that the core of the problem is a hardened heart that is driven by its own lustful desires of what it wants. Therefore, the heart must first become right before the action can be corrected. It is useless to deal with the symptom. The only way to cure the problem is to deal with the source.
Let me give an example. We all can admit that the right thing to do is exercise. But my heart wants/desires to eat pizza, sit on the couch, and watch a movie. I acknowledge that it is right to invest for my future – short term pain, long term gain. But my heart desires a new cell phone with the latest features. On the surface, this inner conflict may seem like nothing more than a slight annoyance. It can be easily dismissed as a personal quirk or a minor inconsistency in our character. This struggle can lead to some humorous situations. You may tell your children that it is not good to eat junk food late at night, but on that same evening, they will see you enjoying a bowl of ice cream after the usual dining hours. You might be able to dismiss that incident or similar demonstrations of your inner struggle with a laugh, but as time passes, we find that this annoying inner conflict reveals something deeply troubling about ourselves. We tend to trade what is best for cheap imitations of true satisfaction. We settle for temporary thrills when eternal value is available.
Have you ever noticed that some of our greatest disappointments come when we get exactly what we want? Let me share an example of what I mean.
Omolo has been saving money for years. He finally gets his driver’s license, and he is ready to buy his first car. Each one of his paychecks has been placed in a special account, and he finally gets to acquire what his heart has desired for years. He considered the day he bought his first car as one of the memorable moments of his life. However, within weeks of that day, the elation that Omolo experienced turned to disillusion and disappointment as he realized the costs associated with purchasing gas, paying for oil changes, and acquiring insurance. Furthermore, he is starting to suspect that the car of his dreams is not what he expected, as he visits mechanic after mechanic, trying to find a solution to the electrical problem.
Omolo received exactly what he wanted, but he was left feeling disappointed and empty.
Many of the things the heart desires might be perfectly acceptable. I like German cars, cell phones, watching movies etc. By themselves, these things are not inherently bad. However, when my desire for things consumes me to the level where I have to lie, steal, coerce to get ahead then I must stop and check my heart.
I am fully convinced that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” especially corruption. It’s root – a corrupt heart. Notice that the Bible does not say that money is evil, but rather it warns that the disposition of our hearts can be changed when we love money. Money is not evil; in fact it can be a very helpful tool. We use money to buy food and clothes. We can use money to advance God’s Kingdom and to bring relief to those who have been wounded and are in pain in our world. But even though money can be a useful tool, our hearts are constantly led astray by this gift.
The problem is not that money is bad, but that our hearts are so easily corrupted. We can begin to love gifts that God has given more than people. To worship the created and not the Creator.
My friends, corruption reveals the disposition of our hearts and thus we need to look inside ourselves, work on our hearts, and our desires if we are to see healing in this world.