One of our senior pastors has repeatedly reminded us that if you place your hope on man, you will surely be disappointed. It takes a while for the realization to set in but at some point, we all learn the lesson. It often comes in the form of broken relationships, broken promises or abandonment, often associated with a bad parent, spouse or it can come with the discovery that friends, mentors or leaders turn out NOT to be who they said they were or who we expected them to be. Yes, we can be partly to blame for putting people on a pedestal and expecting them to be “perfect.” Perhaps the most “delusional” of them all is the presumption that because “You” are good, clean, faithful or honest, then everybody else on the team is or should be.
I recently reconnected with a lawyer-Friend whom I had not talked with for nearly a decade and I noticed that the initial hello was followed quickly with a very guarded “What do you need?” It was not how he used to greet me in the past and it quickly alerted me that something was off. So, I responded by saying “No, I don’t need anything. Just wanted to ask how you are and if everything is good in your life.” That must have been like a splash of cold water because he immediately referred to me as “Bro” and thanked me for calling. Within five minutes I pieced things together.
In his idealism and desire to serve at a higher level, my friend thought it was a good idea to support and campaign for a politician, who eventually won and after that my friend joined government. His first posting landed him in a job where government properties were being used by “crony” businessmen without paying a centavo to government. “That is illegal and unfair,” thought my friend and so he put things into motion where he wanted the government to be able to collect on hundreds of millions in rent. His boss suddenly tells him to stop harassing a certain billionaire and when my friend insists that they have a case, his boss turns the table on him, saying that the business group was claiming that the lawyer was asking for grease money! That of course is the devil’s tactic: to falsely accuse us of sin. My friend simply walked away and never looked back.
The idealistic lawyer joined another agency of government, believing change can happen. The lawyer introduced concepts, programs and policy all aimed at reducing red tape, human intervention or interpretation. In his words: “Everyone agreed that the proposals would radically simplify government transactions and taxation and really thin down corruption.” But having a good idea was far from getting the ideas transformed from paper to reality. After months and months of pushing for the changes, he woke up one day realizing no one at the agency wanted it. Spending six years of his life fighting for what he believed in only to realize that people did not want it, had put him on the edge, which explained why he was bitter and guarded.
I told him how impressed I was that he stuck it out for six years because it usually takes me six months to figure out if certain things or people are a lost cause or not. My friend’s first mistake was that he believed, invested and relied on one man’s claims and promises. There are countless women in the world who could have told him how they too fell for promises of forever, but I digress. I don’t care if the person is the president, prime minister or the pope or another Mother Teresa; one person cannot change or eradicate a systemic defect all by themselves, and just because you know the “Boss” does not necessarily mean that your priority or your crusade is the crusade of the Boss.
Many years ago, a journalist discovered that there was a substantial kickback in the price per sack of rice. The journalist wanted to bring the matter to the president back then. Instead one of his fraternity friends who was close to the president offered to check things out. A few weeks later the person told the journalist that the president was aware of the matter and winked at him. In a no-win situation, you simply learn to choose your battles.
It is commendable to stand on a soap box or sit on a white horse waging war against the corrupt, but I told my friend that it was folly to renovate or redecorate Hell itself. If a company or a government office thrives and survives because of corruption, the chances of you bringing revival or repentance in Hell are slim to none! I pointed out to my friend that corruption, just like the tango, requires a party of two: the corruptor and the corruptee. Don’t preach to the Devil because he can quote scriptures better that you can.
Instead minister to the corruptors and then the corrupt goes hungry. The only chance of redecorating Hell would be at gunpoint or sending the tenants to jail for 20 years! On the other hand, there are countless testimonies of the corruptors who were transformed by example, through mentoring, and sheer exasperation with corrupt government officials that they chose to clean up their business models and transactions. If you show people a way out, they will take it.
In much the same way, don’t jump into bed with politicians who nowadays will promise you a great life and a better future. PLEASE read on what they have accomplished in the last 10 or 20 years and ask: did it directly make your life better? Otherwise go to GOD. He has given me a great life in the last 20 years and then some! Some are given great wealth, some gain influence, others wisdom or the gift of “tongue” or the pen. But whatever God has given us it comes with peace, joy and a sincere desire to bless others. Who has had your back ALL these years? – Cito Beltran
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