The real danger of living in a corrupt country
In the midst of my frustration and anger about the country I live in, I got an important revelation: prayer for our country is actually my responsibility.
Corruption, murder, poor education, bad economy, impunity, human trafficking, extortion, armed robberies, and so on. These are just a few things I would hear about growing up.
I was born in a country where we have to deal with an incredible number of problems every day. Poverty and crime are rife. I remember at 10 years old I got a long talk about what to do and say if I should be kidnapped. It was very hard to have to think about such things at that age. Of course, all these problems brought fear, complaints, and cursing against the government from people around me, both in school and at home. It almost seemed like everyone was trying to say that all the problems only existed because of the government. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t agree with them.
I became bitter and full of hatred toward the government and the system. Hearing about people being mugged and sexually abused every day caused me a lot of pain. This pain made me live in fear, hatred, and complaints toward other people. I didn’t like this way of thinking, but I didn’t know what to do to change the situation. I even got mugged and robbed myself a couple times, so that didn’t help at all.
The easiest solution for me was to blame the government, or anyone else. But honestly, that only gave me a sort of uncomfortable feeling of “peace” and my general state of mind was: “Whatever, at least I am not the problem.”
What if I am actually the problem?
I mean, since when is it my fault that people lose their jobs and get robbed? It doesn’t make any sense, right? And then I remembered what a very wise man once said: “If it’s going badly in your country, just look at yourself.” And that’s true! What if it actually is my fault? Let’s say I am only .01% of the problem. Ok sure, I can accept that. So now what?
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” 1 Timothy 2:1-3
I started to realize I was actually a bigger part of the problem. Paul exhorts us to make supplications and intercessions for those in authority, yet I wasn’t contributing to prayer for our country. I started to look more deeply at myself and God started to speak to me: “Who do you think will pray for the country? Should the ungodly pray? Am I expecting them to pray?” Whose responsibility is prayer for our country then? Suddenly the problem was not just .01% my fault; it became 100% mine.
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3.
When we are full of judging, accusing and angry thoughts towards others, are we not in just as bad a position as those we are judging? We can ask God to stop all murders and infidelity, but Jesus said that whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:21-26). We have to start by focusing on ourselves and cleansing out the evil we find there first. When we get rid of all of our own bitterness, hatred, judging, impure thoughts, etc., then we are starting the solution at the root of the problem – our own sin and selfishness.
Then we can pray in a way that is pleasing to God: “Lord, give wisdom to all the authorities to steer the country in righteousness; soften people’s hearts so that they may get a better understanding of good and evil, and take care of all the innocent kids and people.” We don’t have to say exactly those words, but when we abide in love, God gives us the words for what we should pray for.
God needs people who are willing to fight in prayer for our countries. “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30. We can become these people on behalf of our own countries! First by starting with ourselves and by taking up thisin prayer, asking that God have His hand over everything, and that He will work for the good of our countries.
Our hands must stay up!
Why don’t we pray? Because of unbelief. In other words, we base our faith in what we see and hear. If our faith is that “corruption, crime and poverty are taking over, and it will never stop,” then of course things will never change. But have we asked Jesus and the Father if we can battle together? If we do so, then we come to a completely different mindset and faith is poured into our hearts. In that way we receive God’s wisdom and we start fighting together! It doesn’t matter which country I live in. It doesn’t matter if things get ten times worse. Maybe at first things do get worse, but if I give up, and lose my faith, who will take up the country’s cause? We are to keep our hands up even if things look “terrible.” Faith is not about what we see, but the full assurance of what we do not see yet.
In Exodus 17:7-15 we read the story of Moses and the Israelites’ fight against the Amalekites. As long as Moses kept his hands up, Israel prevailed in the battle. When his hands became heavy, Aaron and Hur supported them, one on each side. And they remained that way until the Amalekites were defeated.
What an amazing story! God didn’t say to Moses, “Stand there, do nothing, and I will destroy the enemies in front of your eyes.” No! Moses was battling together with God and his brothers to endure. If they had lost their faith, they would have lost the fight and the enemies would have overcome. It is the same with us. If we lose faith for our country, then we will go down the drain together with it. If we stand and fight with uplifted hands then we have a future, because God has said it! We believe in the living God! He who has all the power on heaven and on earth!
Let’s keep our hands up and fight for the Lord in our countries! We are completely dependent on God and only prayer will save us from all chaos and lawlessness. If we as Christians see our responsibility to take up this battle together, we can make a difference!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.