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Strasburg, VA 22657



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Strasburg Church of Christ
PO Box 321
Strasburg, VA 22657



February 24, 2013

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Last week: Woe Unto Them That Call Evil Good And Good Evil!.

Student using a cheat sheet

Have you ever cheated in school? Some people do not consider cheating a big deal. According to an academic cheating fact sheet posted on the Glass website, "Academic cheating is defined as representing someone else's work as your own. It can take many forms, including sharing another's work, purchasing a term paper or test questions in advance, paying another to do the work for you." It states further, "Statistics show that cheating among high school students has risen dramatically during the past 50 years...While about 20% of college students admitted to cheating in high school during the 1940's, today between 75 and 98 percent of college students surveyed each year report having cheated in high school...Cheating may begin in elementary school when children break or bend the rules to win competitive games against classmates. It peaks during high school when about 75% of students admit to some sort of academic misgivings. According to one recent survey of middle schoolers, 2/3 of respondents reported cheating on exams, while 9/10 reported copying another's homework. According to the 1998 poll of Who's Who Among American High School Students, 80% of the country's best students cheated to get to the top of their class. More than half the students surveyed said they don't think cheating is a big deal - and most did not get caught.
So, the statistics show that a large number of kids cheat in school, and do not think it is a big deal! You know, and God knows, whether anyone else does or not, if you cheat. How do you feel about that? Is cheating in school a "big deal?" What does the Bible say?
The Bible does not say anything about cheating in school, per se. But it does speak of dishonesty. God has never liked dishonesty. Moses wrote to the Israelites in Leviticus 19:11, "Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another." The psalmist sang to God in Psalm 51:6, "Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom." Paul writes in Ephesians 4:25, "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another." Revelation 21:8 tells us of the seriousness of lying. It says, "All liars....shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
You may ask, "What does lying have to do with cheating?" When you cheat, on a test, for example, you are telling the teacher, "This is my work, these are my answers." Since they are not your answers, you are lying! If you get caught cheating, and tell the teacher, "I was not cheating," you are lying! So whether you get caught, or not, you are lying. You are disobeying God who tells you to always tell the truth.
What if you do not get caught cheating? No problem, right? Wrong! Remember, the psalmist said, "Thou desirest truth in the inward parts" (Ps. 51:6). Even a lie which is not spoken is against God's will! Does God know if you cheat and do not get caught? Yes! The psalmist asks, and answers, "Would not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart" (Ps.44:21, NKJV). In fact, God knows everything about you (See Ps. 139:1-4)! So, whether anyone else knows you cheated, God knows!
Cheating is dishonesty. The Bible forbids dishonesty. But, there are other reasons to avoid cheating. First, How does cheating make you feel? Does it give you a good feeling to turn in a test, term paper, report, etc., that is not completely your own? Second, When you cheat, it is because you do not know the answers on a test, or the information in the paper you plagiarized, or was done by someone else for you. In other words, you have not learned what you were supposed to have learned. It is better to fully prepare yourself for your paper, test, etc., and turn in your best work. You can then feel good that you have done your best. It is not shameful to turn in imperfect work, if it is your best. It is shameful to turn in work that is not your own. No one is truly perfect. Just do your own best.
The purpose of schooling is to prepare you for the future - the next grade, the next level of school, college, life, a career. If you cheat along the way, you are not preparing yourself for a successful future. Rather you are making it look as if you are. One day you will find yourself struggling to succeed - and success will get harder as you go along. You will then find it much harder to secure and maintain that job or career that you want in life. Would it not be better to prepare yourself all along than to struggle in life and look back with regret on the tests and projects that you cheated on instead of carefully preparing for?

Worried businessman looking at papers

Finally, consider your Christian example. When you contemplate cheating, think what kind of example this sets for others. How will your actions influence others? How will it affect how others think of you as a Christian? Your Christian character is the most important asset you have. Don't ruin it by cheating!
L. John Bost
Note: All emphases within scripture references, are mine, LJB.

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