I HOPE you read last week’s article on the effects of corruption on each person who chooses to participate in it. If you missed it, you can find it on the Mmegi website by searching Ashley Thaba.
After painting the picture of what a life of deception and greed does to a person, I promised this week I would outline how one could leave that life.
My prayer in writing this week’s article is that individuals would find peace and joy that has eluded them for years and that by leaving their life of selfishness, they would each play their part in cleaning up our beloved nation!
The first step in finding joy and peace is to identify what is blocking joy and peace from entering your life. You cannot solve a problem until you correctly identify it! This may sound simplistic, but sadly, this first step never occurs in most people.
Since the days of Adam, his first response was to justify: “Eve made me do it! She gave me the fruit!” Talk to someone who is stealing at work or paying bribes.
Their first response will be to justify and rationalise why they do what they do. Everyone else is doing it. I’m not as bad as so and so.
I have an obligation to provide for my family and a little “thank you” is the currency that secures the jobs. I’m falsely accused! The list goes on and on! You
are lying to yourself and others so that you don’t feel guilty!
But deep down, in the quiet of your heart, you know it is wrong. The problem is you don’t want to acknowledge that and face the consequences of where that reality will take you so you blame someone else and claim it is not your fault!
The truth: It is your fault! No matter what, you have a choice! You do not have to participate in lying, stealing and bribing, among others. Just because
everyone else is doing it!
You want to because you don’t believe God can provide if you trust Him and act justly and honestly. You want the “sure” deal that is quick and under your
control. You want the money. You want the power.
Tragically, the key here is it is all about you with no thought for how it hurts those around you. But, it will catch up with you. It always does. Now today’s
question: Can you change for the better when you are in so deep? Yes!
First step. Admit you did wrong.
Second step. Confess at least to God, but maybe to others. Make it right! Own your mistakes! Proverbs 28:13 says: “Those who hide their sins won’t succeed, but those who confess and give them up will receive mercy.”
Bible verses abound telling you that God loves you! He loved you when you were still a sinner, which means he knows what you are doing and He still loves you! He will forgive you! Many take this magnificent grace for granted, as a licence to do wrong. However, Romans 2:4 tells us that type of kindness from the Judge of the universe should actually lead us to repentance.
Luke 19 tells us of a man named Zacchaeus (Z). Z was a man with political power to extort money from the people for the Roman government. He abused that power and took extra for himself. Even though he knew it was hurting those he took from, the law gave him the power to get rich under the guise of political leadership and he took it! Amazingly, when Jesus showed him love and accepted him as a corrupt political leader, the kindness led him to repent.
Luke 19:8 shows Z standing up and proclaiming: “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount!”
Third step. Leave your sin! It isn’t enough to say sorry. You have to stop doing it! John 8 gives us a glimpse into another story. A woman has been caught in adultery. Jewish law demands she be stoned! She is brought to Jesus. Imagine. She has been exposed, humiliated and scared to death and rocks waiting to fly any minute to bring her last breath on planet earth.
Her fate hangs on the words of this “Jewish rabbi” they call Jesus. He is chill! He just bends and writes in the sand! The leaders, fuming, want to stone her. She deserves it! She messed up.
Finally, calm and collected, he stands up and casually says: “Whoever is innocent of any sin can throw the first stone.” Slowly, realising each has their own vices, they drop their stones and leave
In John 8:11, Jesus, the only one without sin who could throw the stone declared: “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin””.
As one who has messed up repeatedly, I can testify God graciously forgives, but to experience the love, joy and peace you desire, you have to leave the life of sin! You can’t keep apologizing and going back to the wrong doings.
Next week we will talk about how to stay in the right path once you have walked away, despite the fact that it is so tempting to go back!
Here is one last verse of encouragement and hope for those who have messed up. “If a wicked person turns away from their sin and does what is just and right — if they … return what they have stolen, follow the decrees that give life, and do no evil — that person will surely live; they will not die. None of the sins that person has committed will be remembered against them. They have done what is just and right; they will surely live”. Ezekiel 33:14-15