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Briefing: Have you ever had someone try to bribe you? Have you ever had someone show you favoritism? What is the difference?

Dispatch (Assignment): What are the elements of the offense for bribery?

On the Street: In today’s society, bribery is an illegal act. We equate bribery to being synonymous with corruption and politics. Those kinds of things happen somewhere else, far away from our daily lives. The truth of the matter is, bribery is a lot closer than we like to think. Bribery goes on in our jobs, friendships, workplace, and schools. It is not always in the form of a cloak and dagger operative handing over an envelope full of cash. It is much more prevalent and subtle. In youth athletic programs you can see this daily. Sometimes it is very blatant and out in the open, other times it is done more covertly. These are not always illegal acts. Is this still wrong?

Webster’s Dictionary defines a bribe as: money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust.

The State of Texas, Penal Code, defines bribery as: A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly offers, confers, or agrees to confer on another, or solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept from another:

-any benefit as consideration for the recipient’s decision, opinion, recommendation, vote, or other exercise of discretion as a public servant, party official, or voter;

-any benefit as consideration for the recipient’s decision, vote, recommendation, or other exercise of official discretion in a judicial or administrative proceeding;

-any benefit as consideration for a violation of a duty imposed by law on a public servant or party official;

-any benefit that is a political contribution as defined by Title 15, Election Code, or that is an expenditure made and reported in accordance with Chapter 305, Government Code, if the benefit was offered, conferred, solicited, accepted, or agreed to pursuant to an express agreement to take or withhold a specific exercise of official discretion if such exercise of official discretion would not have been taken or withheld but for the benefit; notwithstanding any rule of evidence or jury instruction allowing factual inferences in the absence of certain evidence, direct evidence of the express agreement shall be required in any prosecution under this subdivision.

WOW! Are you as confused as I am? Let’s simplify this. What does God’s Word say about bribery?

Proverbs 17:8 (NIV) says, “A bribe is seen as a charm by the one who gives it; they think success will come at every turn.” This sounds like someone who has put their trust in something other than God, someone who thinks their money or position can get them what they want. The first commandment says to have no other gods before GOD. Putting your trust in something other than God is wrong.

In verse 17:23 (NIV) there is intent to pervert truth, “The wicked accept bribes in secret to pervert the course of justice.” The ninth commandment says you shalt not give false testimony against your neighbor.

Exodus 23:8 (NASB) says, “You shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of the just.”

Proverbs 15:27 (NIV), “Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household, but he who hates bribes will live.”

Amos 5:12 (NIV), “For I know how many are your transgressions and how great are your sins, you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate.”

Ecclesiastes 7:7 (NIV), “Surely oppression drives the wise into madness, and a bribe corrupts the heart.”

Deuteronomy 16:19 (NIV), “You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous.”

Proverbs 21:14 (NASB), “A gift in secret subdues anger, and a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.”

Going back to the illustration of the parents doing nice things for coaches to win favor for their children, we have to be people of integrity. When I hear about Satan looking for small chinks in our armor where he can gain a foothold, this is a perfect example. No bribe is good.

Investigational Resources: 2 Timothy 1:7

Officer Safety Principle: Our moral compass of right and wrong needs to be founded in God’s Word. Do not let your witness be compromised by bribes.

from The Book of Proverbs Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!