Cheating is increasingly becoming the normal way of doing things. What are the reasons people cheat, and why should cheating not be a part of your life?
It seems like cheating has become a commonly accepted way to get ahead in today’s world. Consider some high-profile cases involving cheating that have recently made headlines:
Six global financial institutions were fined a total of $9 billion for fixing exchange rates. One trader wrote to others, “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.”
Scandal has surrounded the FIFA organization for allegedly accepting bribes in World Cup venue bids.
American and British schools are rife with students learning to cheat instead of learning. One university student said, “A lot of people think it’s like you’re not really there to learn anything. You’re just learning to learn the system.” There are also online services offering “contract cheating,” where students can purchase completed papers and assignments.
Marriage infidelity continues to increase among those aged 20 to 30. Oddly, though, David Popenoe of the Marriage Project (Rutgers University) noted that in one recent survey 90 percent believed that cheating on one’s spouse is always wrong. Sadly, those beliefs don’t always translate into behavior. The recent hack of the infidelity website Ashley Madison exposed the account information and emails of 37 million people worldwide who used this website to facilitate cheating on their spouses.
Though cheating is so widespread in society, it is interesting that when a celebrity is caught in some kind of cheating scandal, there is still widespread negative coverage and self-righteous shock.
Yet in general, people find excuses for their own cheating. What does God think of the common justifications for cheating?
We may occasionally seem to get away with cheating our fellow man, but we can never cheat God.Everyone else is doing it
One reason people use to justify cheating is, “Everyone else is doing it.” You can just hear your mother saying, “If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you join them?” Denying personal responsibility for bad judgment is a classic human tendency. When God confronted Adam about eating from the forbidden tree, Adam blamed Eve and, by implication, the God who gave her to him (Genesis 3:12). God did not accept Adam’s excuse—and neither will He accept excuses today for cheating. The Bible warns us to not follow the crowd in doing evil (Exodus 23:2).
Win at all costs
A report on the price-fixing scandal at Barclays Bank found a “win at all costs” attitude at the bank. The report found bankers were oblivious to reality, arrogant, selfish and lacked humility and generosity.
The same attitude of win at all costs is found in professional sports and schools. One reporter found that student athletes felt they needed to cheat to win and were actually encouraged to bend rules using tactics such as fouling, diving, time-wasting or feigning injury to gain competitive advantage.
This way of thinking is not God’s way of thinking!
God is concerned about our character—not about what we win. Jesus Christ warned us to “beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). The 10th Commandment teaches us not to covet—the root of most cheating! Instead, our lives should be focused on seeking “first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
Cheating doesn’t really pay
No one cheats thinking he or she will get caught. We may occasionally seem to get away with cheating our fellow man, but we can never cheat God. Instead, the Bible warns us that God sees all, even what we do in secret (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Luke 8:17).
There is an old saying, “The one who dies with the most toys wins.” This idea suggests that success in life is measured by how many possessions we accumulate—regardless of how we got them. But we must realize that we really can’t take physical possessions with us after we die! When we stand before God, He will not be concerned by how much money we made or what “toys” we accumulated. He will be concerned if we faithfully strove to keep His law (Matthew 7:21-23) and if we cared for our fellow man (Matthew 25:32-46).
The only thing we can truly take with us is our character! Character is something we can never gain by cheating.
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