by Robert Brow (     Kingston, Ontario,   January 2007

Every year hundreds of organizations are formed to serve the public.  They begin with the best of motives and honorable intentions. The problem is that those who go work in them soon find flaws, and downright corruption. In many countries bribery is taken for granted.

People are shocked to find gross imperfections in their local church congregations, denominational leadership, and social service agencies. The same corruption infects all levels of government, hospitals, military and educational institutions. Many of these are highly
respected for the contribution they make to our country. It is only when we serve within the organization that we experience at first hand the greed, laziness, and hurtful behavior of our colleagues and superiors.

Faced with this, many who came in with high expectations, sink into cynicism. They feel they must register their disappointment by resigning to find an organization that will be free of these faults. They hope they can be freed to serve with a good conscience. But there too they find similar kinds of corruption. Eventually they decide to withdraw into a small group of friends who agree with their criticism of the corruption they have found, and sit with them on the sidelines.

How do we prevent this hemorrhage of upright people from our nation's institutions?

Jesus called Christians to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). But salt cannot do its work if it remains huddled with other salt. It must go in and work where it is needed. We are to be like the yeast which our society needs to be mixed in with the "three measures of flour" (Matthew 13:33) of our corrupt organizations.

This requires a major model shift in our thinking. Instead of withdrawing from where we find faults, we put our minds to bringing light (Matthew 5:15) into the darkest areas of the institution we are serving. This is hard, costly work, and we may not be approved of by the righteous people who refuse to let their hands be dirtied. But in the long run, we will be honored by God for doing his work in a corrupt society.

Robert Brow

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