Secret Bribes

For Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Proverbs 21:14

A gift in secret averts anger,
and a concealed bribe, strong wrath.

This proverb speaks of what secret bribes accomplish, not what should be done. Bribes are given because they accomplish their purpose to appease someone with power. Bribes are not to be used to avert justice, nor to win advantage over someone else unable to equal the gift. Even so, Christians in persecuted lands have used bribes wisely to save innocent lives.

When may Christians give bribes? Undoubtedly fewer times than we think. To do so, after all, requires deceit and other sins, depending upon the type of gift given. In most cases, we resort to bribes because we have not faith. I would not begin to reflect on how Christians in persecuted countries should think about this, but for us who live in the United States, we need to think long and hard on giving into a system that calls for secret gifts.

Some Christians believe that falling in line with bribes is the only realistic way to stay in business and keep up with the competition. They scoff at the Christian idealist who thinks he can apply Sermon on the Mount principles in a cutthroat world. But then see what happens - they become scoffers of their own faith. They turn into the world.

There are worse things than failing in business or in making the grade. There is the loss of dignity and the loss of faith. There is greater cost than the bribe itself.