I teach undergraduate classes at a university. Earlier tonight, I was filling out paperwork for a student who committed plagiarism. This wasn’t the “oops, I forgot to cite a reference” type of plagiarism; this was the “copy and paste another student’s work” type of plagiarism. The student was blatantly stealing several sentences from another student and presenting it as original work – and not that stealing only one sentence would have condoned the action, but the student stole four sentences – word for word, even with the references intact. The insane thing is that on the plagiarist’s last class-wide assignment, the student blessed another student with God’s blessings with the condition that the other student keep His will and do righteously. (Seriously?!?)
But, people’s sins will be exposed. In that student’s case, the writing style I was used to reading on those sentences did not match the work that the student normally turned in – so, it was a tip-off.
So, what’s the big deal? Who cares about a few sentences in one assignment in a class that will be quickly forgotten? You should. Such behavior is indicative of much larger problems: lying, stealing, and cheating to name a few. And while you may not care if your boyfriend or girlfriend cheats on an assignment or exam in a class, you will most definitely care when that person starts cheating on you.
That could never happen? I guarantee you that it could. The two actions come from the same seeds of spiritual discontent. Instead of working hard to produce academically good quality, the student takes “the easy way.” Instead of working hard to produce an emotionally healthy relationship, your significant other takes “the easy way.”
Notice the quote at the top of the post. They are individual actions that ultimately turn into a destiny – habits do not form themselves. Does your girlfriend tell harmless white lies to another? Does your boyfriend cheat on an assignment? Does your girlfriend swipe a few bucks from a pile of cash thinking that it won’t be missed? Does your boyfriend take food in a drive-thru that was mistakenly handed to him?
That last question can be sort of funny… until it happens to you. Heather and I were recently in a drive-thru and the lady in front of us was handed an ice-cream cone and a bag of food. She then quickly sped off. I thought it was a bit odd until we came up to the window and he started handing us a drink – that we didn’t order. We then confirmed our order and frustration came upon him as he said, “I just gave your food to the lady in front of you.” So, he ran to the back to get our order made as quickly as possible while the cars behind us had to wait much longer than normal for the line to start moving again. Apparently, her integrity is only worth a few burgers.
Another question I’ve heard well-phrased is this: “Is your integrity worth…?” and then some morally deficient action is mentioned. In this case, apparently, the integrity for the aforementioned student was worth less than an A on a single assignment. What a cheap, cheap price for one’s integrity. Sounds like a mess of pottage to me.
Guard your integrity with all your might. Let it be a shining jewel unto the Lord, without spot, without blemish. As you are in the process of selecting your spouse (whether dating or engaged), look for these opportunities to discover what he shows his or her integrity is worth – it should be priceless. You will want to make sure to find this out before marriage – I guarantee it.
Is his integrity worth less than $0.97 in change that the cashier overpaid him? Is her integrity worth less than the few minutes that she stole from her employer while browsing the internet? (ouch) Guard your integrity, I say… guard it well.
How much is your integrity worth?