Corruption and moderation

>> Sunday, October 8, 2017

Ike Señeres

According to, the core definition of greed is that it is “the obsession with accumulating material goods”. There may be nothing wrong with that by itself, but the same source says that “a greedy person values material goods more than he values God”.
So there you go. Without putting God in the equation, a person could be greedy and that by itself may not be a problem. As I see it, the problem starts when that person starts to give more value to material goods more than he gives value to God. In other words, he is already worshiping the material goods rather than worshiping the eternal God.
The same source adds that “greed is something that can never be satisfied”, and also it added that “greed and slothfulness have similarities in definition”, explaining that “the greedy and the slothful both crave material goods as well as they have no desire to work for or to exchange anything of value for the object of their desires”.
              Sad to say, there are many false teachings that have already crept into the Christian consciousness, and one of these false teachings is the idea that greed could be “moderated”. The false teaching is the idea that God will provide for those who work hard, in other words man would deserve to have material rewards from God in exchange for his hard work. Referring back to our source however, I am more inclined to believe that “greed is something that can never be satisfied”, period. If it could never be satisfied, is it possible for it to be “moderated”? I do not think so, in the context of stealing. The Bible tells us that stealing is stealing, and there are no percentages assigned to it. In this context, it could be said that if one takes something without working for it or without deserving it that would be the same as stealing.
              There was a time when a public official would solicit 15% to 20%, it would be considered as “kalakalan”, being broadly interpreted as “acceptable” or “normal”. The time came however when public officials started soliciting from 30% to 40%, and that was when it was already considered as “garapal”, meaning to say “too much” or “too greedy”. Perhaps it is in this context that the saying “moderate your greed” came into use. While the quantitative equations may be logical in the secular sense, it could never be logical in the Christian sense, because as I said, stealing is stealing.
If one would steal even one half of one percent, that would already be stealing, not matter what. No doubt about it, greed is the reason why solicitations went up from 15% to 40%. It could be said that at some point, the greedy also becomes slothful and at that point, there may be no turning back for them.
 In theory, public service is not supposed to be a business, and even if public office is considered as a job, one should not gain from it other than his salaries and wages. Strictly speaking, if a public official takes anything from the coffers of the government that would in effect be stealing, no matter what percentage it is from the principal amount. However, the sad reality now is that politics has now become a business, and generally speaking, many politicians run for public office in order to be able to steal from the public coffers or at the very least, to gain some returns from their “investments”. In so many ways, it could be said that corrupt public officials could earn so much money without working for it, or without deserving the money that they would earn. By wanting more of that kind of money, they would become greedy or slothful.
              Without going into specifics, it could be said that all Abrahamic religions have teachings against greed and slothfulness. If that is the case, there would be no greed and slothfulness in the world, because most of the people in the world are Christians, Moslems or Jews.
I do not know much about the Moslems and Jews, but in the case of the Philippines where most people are Christians, it should not be too difficult to preach against greed and slothfulness. First things first however, we should remember that greed could never be satisfied, therefore it could not be moderated. The right thing to say therefore is we should “eradicate our greed”, instead of saying that we should “moderate our greed”.
              Again I say that I do not know much about the teachings of Moslems and Jews, but in the case of the Christians, we should know that we now live out of love, and not out of the law. God is not a jukebox that would give us music if we insert coins into it. God gave us Jesus not because we deserve it, but because He loves us. This is what grace is all about. God gives us his grace not because we deserve it or not because we have worked for it, but because
He wants to give it to us, whether we deserve it or not. Does anyone deserve God’s grace or not? I do not know the answer to that, but I do know that those who obeys His will could certainly gain his favors.

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