[ The Trumans - Is it cheating... or not! That is the Question. ]
 

Cheating is an issue that all people have to deal with, especially those in school. It is so much easier to copy off another’s paper or to take someone else’s work and make it look like your own, or check your answers by peeking at your friend’s test to get a better mark. Peter Truman has run into a tight situation because he hasn’t prepared properly for his science test. Let’s see what he does in this situation.

Hi! Let me introduce myself: my name is Peter Truman. You might be wondering why the life stories of a twelve-year-old boy will be chronicled on this website. Well, I’ll tell you. Through the trials and difficulties I face in my life you may gain insight and strength to properly handle those you will encounter in yours. As with everybody, at any age, there will be times when I make right decisions and times that I make wrong decisions. I’ll always try my best to do the right thing, but even though I’m 12 I still make mistakes.

I try to deal with stuff by remembering Bible lessons to guide my actions but that is not always possible at a moment’s notice. Sometimes things happen too fast and I have to make snap decisions. I also have my family to help me. My mom and dad are of course a great help (a little “old fashioned,” but that’s not always a bad thing!). And there’s my older brother and sister, Matt and Phoebe (when they’re not picking on me for something!). And I know I can count on you, my friends, to help me out every once in a while with my problems. We can all help each other to figure these things out before they happen in real life! Well, let’s dive in to my first big dilemna. I hope we’ll all learn something from it.

Is it cheating... or not! That is the Question

As Peter wakes up Friday morning, he feels refreshed and revitalized from a great night’s sleep. It’s the last school day of the week, tomorrow is the Sabbath and he gets to sleep in, and did I mention no school tomorrow!! Life is good, that is until…

“OH MAN… I FORGOT TO STUDY FOR MY SCIENCE TEST THIS MORNING!” Peter remembered. “I’m in a world of trouble now!”

Running out the door in a panic with just a piece of toast in his hand, he makes it just in time to catch the bus. As he sits down he is trying desperately to remember the lessons of the past week but the knot in his stomach grows as he thinks to himself, “Oh, what am I going to do?! If I fail this test, the weekend is shot!”

Peter took out his science book and started cramming as fast as possible but his friends kept talking and distracting him all the way to school. As the bus arrived, he was still studying as fast as he could before his science class started… the first class of the day.

As he sat down Peter’s best friend Tim came in and sat down in his seat next to his desk, but he didn’t notice him.

“Hey, Pete,” Tim asked, startling Peter out of his reading. “What’s going on? Why do you look so freaked out? It’s not because of the test, is it?”

“Oh, Hi Tim,” Peter replied, “Yeah, it is. I forgot to study last night and now I’m going to do terrible on the test.”

“Listen, I studied big time for the test last night. Why don’t you just copy off of me?” asked Tim,” You can make it up to me later.”

“Do you mean cheat?” Peter whispered, “I can’t cheat. That’s wrong!”

Tim replied, “Come on, I’m just trying to help you out. Just think of it as a favor to a friend.”

Now Peter is faced with a big problem. He forgot to study for his test, and his friend is offering to help him cheat so he doesn’t fail. Now, you might say that it really isn’t cheating because Tim is offering Peter the information willingly, and that all Tim’s doing is helping out a friend in need, or that it’s only this once and he won’t forget and let it happen again, so it’s OK.

Well, let’s see what Yahweh says about it. In Proverbs 20:17 it reads, “Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man, but he ends up with a mouth full of gravel,” and in verse 21 of the same chapter it says, “An inheritance quickly gained at the beginning will not be blessed at the end.” In other words, these passages are telling us that even though cheating may seem good because it solves your problem in the beginning, in the end it will turn out worse. Even though Peter may pass his test, if they get caught, they would get into big trouble with the teacher and their parents. Plus, I don’t think Yahweh would be very happy seeing his children doing bad things. So what should Peter do?

“So, are you going to let me help you out or not?” asked Tim.

Peter thought for a moment, said a quick silent prayer to Yahweh for guidance and strength, and replied, “No, it’s wrong. It would be cheating. I appreciate the offer but it’s not right that you did your studying and through my forgetfulness I didn’t do mine. I’ll do my best and leave the result to Yahweh. Besides, I’ve learned my lesson and I won’t forget to study for my tests so easily anymore.”

So, did Peter do the right thing? Of course he did. It’s clear in this case. But things are not always so obvious.

Whenever you are confronted with a confusing issue do as Peter did! Say a prayer for guidance and rely on Yahweh’s strength to help you make the right decision. He won’t let you down.

As you read the Bible (and EVERYBODY should be reading it regularly!) try to apply what it says to your life and the things you encounter. Imagine yourself faced with these kinds of decisions and how you would face them. Prepare yourself ahead of time and when a crisis situation happens… and it will… you may be prepared.

Exercise:

Can you think of other Scripture passages that might apply here? Write them down.

If you can, send them in a letter or an e-mail to us along with a short note explaining how you think they would have helped Peter make the right choice. We’ll print some of your passages and thoughts to help others (and Peter) in the future.

Until Peter’s next dilemma… May Yahweh bless and guide you every day!