On Cheating

As I ponder the Major League baseball cheating scandal and the potential downfall of my beloved Redsox, I realize that cheating is nothing new, whether the scenario is baseball, politics, or just day-to-day living. Even my Church has cheated through lying.

The bottom line of cheating appears to be “It’s only a problem if you get caught!” And if we are all honest with ourselves, we sometimes delight in someone “getting away with it.” Take Gaylord Perry, for example. Perry had a Hall of Fame career. Perry also used the spitball, a pitch that was illegal for many years. Perry never hid the fact that he was cheating. When he retired, he said “Well, baseball will be a little drier now.” I confess that I appreciated this trickster figure.

Election cheating is also nothing new, whether it involves preventing poor people from registering to vote to dumping voting machines into Lake Michigan. Persons running for elected office have long been willing to “get away with” illegal/unethical ways of padding their vote.

Cheating in business also seems to be a way of life whether it is knowingly selling an inferior product, falsifying a tax return, billing for services not delivered, etc. Even the  Bible notes the challenge of people cheating in business.

Is honesty going the way of such values as church attendance? In this fast-paced world, is honesty no longer relevant? Like the call to non-violence, does Jesus’ invitation to honesty suggest that he was nothing more than a naive idealist?

The ultimate challenge of honesty is to be honest with oneself. How often do I make excuses? Overlook bad behavior? How often do I justify lying? Perhaps our culture has become so tolerant of cheating that we don’t feel a need to hold ourselves accountable.

Yes, there are uproars. Baseball managers are being fired. Players may be implicated. Election results are being questioned because of cheating through foreign influence. I’d like to think this outrage reflects some moral awakening but I doubt it.

So what do I do? As with the issue of violence, perhaps the only recourse I have is the most important one — do a moral inventory on my own level of dishonesty and take the necessary steps to establish a more honest, cheat-free lifestyle. Perhaps as I point a finger at any suspected cheater from a baseball manager to a President, I need to recall Shakespeare’s words: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves.”

About richp45198

I am a clinical psychologist and have an abiding interest in matters spiritual.
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2 Responses to On Cheating

  1. Susan says:

    I used to cheat 40 years ago when I was a kid. Dr. Patterson said I was, “Looking for something outside of myself”. Through therapy I learned that something or someone has to be more important than whatever is being cheated for. My husband who is a saint has never cheated. He says people used to cheat when he was playing tennis competitively. He said that the answer to dealing with cheaters is to be good enough that it doesn’t matter if they cheat. As far as declining church attendance I can say that the two people who have hurt me the most were ones who attended church and synagogue regularly and hold positions of authority in those institutions. Then there are also those like Dr. Patterson who live their faith.

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  2. Michele Osborn says:

    IMO – Apparently cheating is in the eye of the beholder. Many people can justify their cheating (e.g. Les Misérables) and the many shades of cheating is a matter of personal values as to what is acceptable. Judging the cheating is bounced against these same values, preconceived beliefs and maybe even some intuition. When I run the 2016 election through my filters what comes back is that Hillary was colluding and cheating but somehow it backfired and the aftermath is pure narcissistic projection. My gut tells me this is the case because she hid so much evidence all her political career and key witnesses mysteriously disappear but the President opens his kimono more than he should. (I know I know . . . I can feel you bristling all the way from Dallas LOL). But in any case, we are trying to put our morals and value filters on information that is coming to us from known deceivers via questionable sources full of cheaters. It is quite confusing and heart breaking and divisive especially for all of us who are trying to do the right thing and be on the right side. God said cheating (i.e. lying/stealing) will take us away from the abundant life He has planned for us. So we have a vested interest to do our best as you said, Rich, to “take the necessary steps to establish a more honest, cheat-free lifestyle”. But be prepared because as CS Lewis said “No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.” So we need to keep our spiritual armor prayed up and mission ready!! And pray to Jesus for help when we fall short and pray for others when they do too. xoxo Thank you Rich for the opportunity to be open and honest.

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