[forthright] The Price of Cheating

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2007 16:05:41 -0500
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: Heavenly Connections

The Price of Cheating
by Tim Hall

The baseball game has reached a critical point. A
catcher calls time and runs to the mound to confer
with the pitcher. As they speak, each covers his
mouth with his glove. They're not trying to avoid
spreading germs; they're being careful to not let
anyone see what they're saying.

The difference between championship and mediocre
teams is a matter of small details. If one team
can learn what the other intends to do, it gives
them an advantage. That's why spotters are
positioned in the stands with binoculars,
straining to read the lips of that pitcher as he
talks. It happens all the time.

There are rules, however, about how far a team can
go. In professional football, the New England
Patriots just crossed the line. Last Sunday a
staff member roamed the sidelines with a video
camera. His assignment was not to capture what
happened on the field, but on the opposing team's
sidelines. As a result of this blatant act of
cheating, the Patriots' coach was fined $500,000,
the team was fined another $250,000, and a high-
round draft pick will be forfeited next year.
Cheating has cost them plenty.

But how prevalent is cheating throughout our
society? Fortune 500 companies engage in corporate
espionage. Buddies at a poker game slyly glance
over one another's shoulders to see what's in
their opponent's hand. Otherwise decent citizens
conceal income from the IRS to avoid paying more
taxes. Husbands and wives "cheat" on their spouses
to enjoy an evening of pleasure.

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
but a just weight is his delight" said the wise
man in Proverbs 11:1 (NKJV). If the butcher can
skew his scale by just an ounce, he can soon have
an extra pound of meat to sell. But God sees that
unjust weight, and it is abominable to the Lord!

It's easy to slack off on one's job when the boss
is out for awhile. But Paul gave Christians a
higher standard: "Bondservants, obey in all things
your masters according to the flesh, not with
eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of
heart, fearing God" (Colossians 3:22). God never
steps out. If we serve him, our level of honesty
will always be high.

Cheating tells others that I can't be trusted when
I'm out of your sight. Cheating encourages others
to start looking for their own shortcuts that will
give them an advantage. It's a sad commentary when
some of the top stars in one of the top sports in
our land routinely say, "It ain't cheating if you
don't get caught."

Jesus stated the ideal in Matthew 5:37: "But let
your 'Yes' be 'Yes', and your 'No', 'No'. For
whatever is more than these is from the evil one."
My word should be good enough for those who know
me well. That kind of trust only comes when one is
committed to honesty at all times.

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