The Word on the Week

Volkswagens Exhaust System

What happens when the top performer in the class is caught cheating and it is discovered he has been at it for the last 6 years? Germany has been disgraced. Her moral authority dented. All this happened at a time when it was acting as a role model in European affairs.

‘How the mighty have fallen’ might be the quote from King David that occurred to Angela Merkel when she contemplated the fall-out from the corruption revealed in the flagship of German industry. To make it even more wounding the computer mechanism which did the damage was discovered by the Americans. No chance of keeping it quiet now!

In fact, as the land of lawyers sharpen their claws, Volkswagen have hired the legal firm which represented Shell in their massive law suites over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to represent them!

So what did they get up to? The deception centres round a piece of software which sensed when the cars exhaust emissions were being tested and switched the engine to trap the toxic output. To leave this in place uses more fuel so it switched back when the test was finished and polluted away happily blowing nitrogen oxide into the air adding to the woes of emphysema, bronchitis and other suffers of respiratory diseases.

The scam affects 11 million of its diesel models and, as this is not a fault which would be covered under its Product Recall insurance, (it was done deliberately) the company have had to set aside €6.5 billion to cover the costs of rectifying the problem. I expect claims for damages will have to be added to this figure. In this matter Volkswagen are at the mercy of the US criminal system.

Deception for gain is one of the oldest tricks in the book. “You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah and a just hin…you shall observe all my statutes and all my rules and do them: I am the Lord” (Leviticus Chapter 19 verse 35/7). The measurements had to be correct. Short measure is sin (Romans Chapter 3 verse 23). The Bible calls all those who cheat an abomination (Deuteronomy Chapter 25 verse 15).

As usual we can see the sin most clearly in others and are myopic when it comes to ourselves! This double standard is highlighted in Romans Chapter 2 verses 1/4 when the Apostle writes that God is patient, while we go in for this “passing judgement on them and yet do the same things”, in order to give us time to repent.

This patience is picked up by St Peter in his 2nd letter Chapter 3 verse 9 where he says that the Lord is not wishing that any should perish but that all should reach repentance.

Don’t cover up the pollution in your life like Volkswagen but come clean with God whose grace in giving us what we don’t deserve – a new life, made possible through faith in our sinbearing Saviour.

As the African believer put it “He die, me no die” that is the ultimate experience of love.