Today an investigation has been started into the alleged corruption of various FIFA officials. Arrests were made and documents have been seized from the organisations Zurich HQ. It is sad to see this happen but given the recent coverage of the slave labour being used to drive the 2022 world cup, it is not overly surprising.
So why? What is the reason for turning a blind eye to what is going on? One simple reason seems to be obvious – greed. A simple yet pervasive motivator of the human heart. Very quickly the sound of crisp banknotes begins to drown out the phone calls received by migrant workers from their wives or loved ones. Power and reputation become all that matters, regardless of the consequences.
At the beginning of the book of Proverbs (1:8-19) the writer has very wise words for this young group of men who will be involved in the leadership of Israel. He paints a picture of the type of leaders who seek “unjust gain”. They are people who “ambush the innocent without reason” and “swallow them alive” (1:11-12). And as if that was not enough, having extorted these people, they then take and take and take to fill their own pockets (1:13-14).
Humans easily fall into this pattern of behaviour because it is intrinsically linked to our own pride. When we can say that we have this, or that, or the other then we fell quite good about ourselves. But it is not something which can last. Once again the sad delusion of permanence strikes. Which is exactly the authors point in this section.
It is in vain that people exploit others. All they are doing is setting a trap for themselves and “an ambush for their own lives” (1:18). Greed, and the corruption which spawns from it, robs the perpetrator of their humanity whilst simultaneously destroying others divine gift of being human.
True leaders are those who “do not consent” (1:10) to the enticement of gaining more at the unjust expense of other human beings. Rather, they are people who know that they will come before God and will be held accountable for their actions. Proverbs continuously teaches this principal. For this reason leaders must take note that they are not eternal, nor are there positions of authority and power.
But it is not just leaders who need to deal with this. By extension this is a human problem that we all must contend with. We all must ask the tough question, “Am I greedy”? This is not a problem which exists only in the corridors of FIFA HQ, Westminster or the White House but in the secluded alleyways of our hearts and minds. How does this difficulty work itself out in the home environment. Do you want at the expense of others? Or what about in work. Do you seek advancement over others through unjust or corrupt means?
If so two things remain to be said. Firstly, it is only a trap that you are laying down for yourself. Sooner or later it will unravel because nothing is permanent. Secondly, there is a saviour who takes your unjustness and greed to his cross and deals with it so that you can be free of it in your daily living.