I have spent time in countries that are basically run on bribes. In fact, in some of the countries I’ve stayed in, bribes are about the only thing that make it go. Without bribes it is very difficult for things to get done. So what should one do?
It’s always a question in many foreigners minds, including missionaries and tourists. Some are willing to pay a bribe although keep it small. But is this even right?
The reality is that bribes keep a country in poverty. They will never, ever grow as a country if they remain in the bribe system. Bribes exchange the wealth of what a country could have to the poverty that it does have. Visitors don’t want to come. Businesses don’t want to come. Trust is broken down. Poor people are taken advantage of.
I had one person tell me that when someone tries to sit down and bribe him, he buys them and tea and coffee and talks to them. But even this is giving heed to the spirit of the bribe.
The Scripture is clear:
“Do not accept a bribe, for it blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous” (Deut 16:19).
I have heard of businesses working to walk a different way. But without a doubt what they do is so much harder, costs much more, and is more prone to difficulty and trouble, but on the other hand these guys are heroes. They are doing it out of love for their nation, and it costs them. A lot.
It is so very difficult for leaders to make changes, and yet some are trying. Take in case Sierre Leone. I love West Africans but let’s be honest, they could be filthy rich but the bribe system keeps them in dire poverty. They are often at the lowest level on the UN’s Human Development Index.
In this situation in this video, two young travelers encounter the bribe system. The ended up posting their video online of their bad experience. But what Sierre Leone officials did in the next video is admirable. They have a loooong ways to go, but there is hope. Take a look:
Government charts a different path: