The General Secretary, Apostle Alexander Nana Yaw Kumi-Larbi, has warned Christians that paying or accepting bribes in any form is an offence against God.
The Chief Scribe said this when he joined members of Pentecost International Worship Centre, Odorkor (PIWC-Odorkor) for church service on February 9th, 2020.
Preaching a sermon titled: “Bribery and Extortion” as part of a series of messages on the topic: “Living A Life Of Integrity As A Christian,” Apostle Kumi-Larbi expressed
disdain about how the payment of bribes has become a common practice in Ghana, cautioning that “bribery is a characteristic of a corrupt society.”
He defined bribery as money, favour, or other consideration given in exchange for one’s influence against what is true, right, or just. “Any benefit given or accepted to influence decisions is a bribe. Bribery is an offence against God, the weak, the innocent and the community,” he explained.
Giving a brief historical background of the act of bribery, Apostle Kumi-Larbi said that, it was a customary practice of the ancient Israelites to offer gifts to people in authority as a sign of respect. He, however, stated that such gifts were sometimes given as a form of bribe to influence judicial procedures. As a result, Moses, the leader of Israel at the time, cautioned the Israelites against bribery to prevent abuses in their legal system.
According to the General Secretary, laws against bribery were given to the Israelites by Moses
to so that they could clamp down on the practice, because it jeopardised justice and righteousness in society. He further quoted Exodus 23:8, Deuteronomy 16:19, Job 15:34 and Proverbs 17:23 to buttress the Bible’s categorical stance against all forms of bribery.
Apostle Kumi-Larbi pointed out that although receiving or paying bribes may bring temporary comfort; its consequences may be far-reaching. He referred to the story of Judas in Matthew 26:14-16, who took a bribe to betray Jesus, an innocent man. He said that although Judas later regretted his actions, his action came too late because he had caused the death of a righteous man.
Apostle Kumi-Larbi also cited the story of the soldiers who were charged with guarding Jesus’ tomb. who They took a bribe from the chief priests and elders to lie about the disappearance of the body of Jesus from the tomb as recorded in the Gospel according to St. Matthew 28:12-15. “Many Jewish people have perished, and many more are going to perish because of the lie the soldiers told, and the blood of these people will be on their hands,” he lamented.
Apostle Kumi-Larbi, therefore, advised Christians to desist from paying or accepting bribes to grant or to receive any form of favours “From all indications, bribery perverts justice. It is a blinding influence upon wisdom and discernment. It beclouds the truth and perverts or twists the words of those who would be righteous in the sight of God,” he said.
He advised Christians to do nothing out of vain conceit or selfish gain, to be content with what they have, and uphold their integrity in all circumstances. “Our God values honesty and truthfulness, because they ensure a just society. The Christian who has integrity is sound, reliable, trustworthy and can be described as dependable,” he advised.