For the third time this trip, we were standing on the side of the road waiting for our taxi driver to finish his bribing at the checkpoint so that we could again pile 8 people back into a 5 person sedan. On one hand, I find humor in the whole situation, because it reminds me of the Chinese fire drills I used to do as a kid. But the truth is that it’s not funny at all; this example, although small and seemingly insignificant, is an indication of a much larger issue of corruption within the society that is slowly tearing the country apart, holding it back from a new future.
Looking back on Liberia’s complicated history, their tribal belief systems, and their past leaders it makes sense though. When even small acts of corruption continue to go “unnoticed” it sets an example and sends the message that lying, cheating, stealing, and dishonesty are OK, or even necessary, to succeed. So now in Liberia, we’ve got billions of dollars of aid money unaccounted for each year, we’ve got teachers accepting money or sex as bribes for grades, we’ve got students thinking there’s nothing wrong with cheating on tests or in life, and we’ve got checkpoints with so many senseless bribes…
We’ve also got political candidates using corruption, bribery, manipulation, and any other dirty trick in the book to try get votes and win this election so that they can keep doing the same exact thing once they are in office. It’s important to note though, this issue of corruption can’t be blamed entirely on the leaders, because leaders and their values/sins are typically a reflection of the society, the people who voted them into office. And so before we expect change from our leaders, we must first repent, turn to God, reassess our own values, and change ourselves.
In this 2017 election, Liberia needs leaders that are humble servants of God and His children. Help me to pray for the fruits of honesty and truth to overcome the deeply ingrained rotten fruit of lust for money and power called corruption that is present not just within our leaders, but within ourselves.
Father God, we pray for your truth to set the standard for our lives and for this nation of Liberia. We know that often, the leaders that we elect and follow are reflections of us. And so Father we come to you in repentance for our corrupt spirits. We lust after money and power, when the only one that can truly ordain the powerful in this world is you. We are humbled by your mercy, and by the fact that you are still present in our lives and the nation of Liberia as you wait for us to die to this world and turn toward you. Through the power of your son’s name, show us the way out of from our sinful nature and deliver us from the corruption that has its grip on Liberia. Lead us to freedom through You. Amen.
Proverbs 12:22 The Lord hates those who don’t keep their word, but he delights in those who do.
Psalm 101:7 I will not allow deceivers to serve me, and liars will not be allowed to enter my presence.
2 Chronicles 7:14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.