Written by | January, 2014
Post Tags
Post Categories Uncategorized

FROM THE FIELD                                                 July 3, 2013
The Bribe

As you are traveling along a Nigerian traffic cop has you pull over, because you have violated a traffic rule of not stopping behind the white line. You will have to go to the police station and be fined. But a couple hundred Naira in the officer’s hand will save you from that.

At the Nigerian immigration office as you are renewing a resident permit, it is understood that a couple of the officials should be given something for the work they had to do for you.

In order to hold services and teach the Word  in a house in Kalay, Myanmar (not a building specifically built as a church) the local security people come to demand a ‘fine’ for violation of the rule.

To have  a foreigner teach seminars in Odisha State, India local pastors, are asked to pay 10,000 rupees for the foreigner’s supposed protection from unruly elements. The amount is reduced to 5000 upon appeal to the local authorities.

I have faced these and more in working overseas. The ethical question is should these be paid?
Through my study of Scripture, if the bribe perverts justice (Deut. 16:19 “You shall not pervert justice…”)for the oppressed or needy, then it should not be given. We should remember though that within our country  there is the rule of law, while outside of our country in many places where we work it is the rule of men who change the rules and are allowed to alter them even at will with no punishment. To take a bribe to “afflict the righteous” Amos 5:12 is wrong.

In the four situations above I paid the so-called ‘bribe’. Sometimes a ‘bribe’ could be considered a pre-service tip or fee. Other times what is called a ‘bribe’ is a gratuity understood to be given after the service performed. When it comes to ‘officials’ requiring payments for something to go on, we pay it in order to be able to preach and teach in this world where the rule of men trumps the rule of law.  This is a wicked world in which we live and work for Him.