Cheating – no problem

Cheating – no problem?!

Francis – the doubtful doctor

Francis Mensah was very excited the day he qualified as a doctor. He felt very proud that after long years of study he had achieved his life’s dreams. His parents and friends came to share his joy on graduation day and the party they had for him was great fun. During his days as a medical student, however, there was one subject he did not like and he always found a quick way around it. He and a group of friends regularly cheated during examinations that tested their knowledge in Pharmacology. Two days after his graduation, he began his work, no longer as a medical student but as a fully qualified doctor in his own right. Alone in his consulting room, one thought came to haunt him. Whenever he listened to his patients and diagnosed the disease he was not quite sure what medicine to prescribe for them. If you were sick and had to choose a doctor, would you go to Dr. Francis  Mensah?

Fati – the unreliable nurse

Fati Alolga is a nurse. She had always wanted to be one ever since she read the story of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. In Nursing training College, she studied with a group of friends. They decided that they would help each other in the examinations.  Because of that Jane did not study hard. She knew that at examination time, if she could not answer a question, all she needed to do was to secretly pass on the paper to one of her friends, Mercy, who would fill in the answers for her. Jane did that right through nursing school. She qualified as a nurse but she was not a very good one. She always mixed up prescriptions that doctors wrote for patients. Would you like to be one of Nurse Alolga’s patients?

Kwame – the disqualified driver

Kwame Blay is a driver. The day he received his licence and got behind the steering wheel, he felt like a pilot about to take off into the air. At last he was a licensed commercial driver. But did you know that he did not take any driving tests? Kwame cheated by paying a bribe to get his licence. As a result, he was not a safe driver because he never studied the Highway Code and did not even bother to take a simple driving test. When he got on the road, he did not understand the road signs. He overtook other vehicles when the sign clearly said, «No overtaking.» When the road sign read «Danger» he sped along instead of slowing down. Two years after Kwame Blay bought his licence and «qualified» as a driver, his car was involved in an accident, in which many people lost their lives. Imagine that your fiancée was one of the passengers in the bus who died in the accident. How would you feel?

The purpose of exams

Many of us have good memories of our school days. We cherish the fun times, the silly adventures, the inter-school sports and above all, the life-long friends we made. Many students have so much fun in boarding school that they tend to think that is what school is all about—having fun. The only things that we did not enjoy were the examination times. In fact we were afraid of them. In some cases, our friends and seniors told us that examinations were meant to make us fail and we somehow believed them. Because of this, many students believe there is no way they can pass their exams except through cheating. But you know, exams are only meant to assess whether or not you have understood what your teachers taught you. You can still pass if you do not cheat. You can pass if you study hard. Examinations are not meant to make you fail but you have to study to pass them. As soon as you enter Senior High School, or any school for that matter, just know that you are there to study so that you can understand the subject and pass your examinations.

Cheating affects other people’s lives

The habit of cheating is not only dangerous to yourself but to society as a whole. Cheating may start in small, innocent ways but it ends up as something big and affects many people. The worst part of cheating is the false confidence it gives the cheat. «Everybody is doing it», has become a ready excuse for cheating and other forms of wrongdoing. You know what? Not everybody is cheating.  Even if everybody cheated, it would still be wrong. God has warned us in Exodus 23:2 «Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong…»  Cheating and other forms of dishonesty are totally wrong in God’s sight. Again the Bible warns us in Leviticus 19:11, «Do not steal, do not lie. Do not deceive one another.» Cheating in exams is stealing knowledge you do not have, lying that you have that knowledge and deceiving your teachers and society that you are qualified to practice as a doctor, nurse or driver when your certificate or license was obtained partly or mostly through falsehood and cheating.

Obedience and honesty

One danger about cheating is that the cheat believes no one will ever know, or that he will not be found out. That is a lie. Jesus Christ said, «There is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed» (Luke 8:17). Maybe nobody catches a student stealing, but the effect of being dishonest will mark his or her character for life unless he turns away from cheating. If you are a Christian student and you cheat, it could mean one of two things: either the change that has happened in your life when you believed in Jesus was not genuine, i.e your salvation is fake and you are not saved at all, (by their fruits you will know them) or you are living in open disobedience to the laws of God. Jesus said in John 14: 15, «If you love me you will obey what I command.» Further in John 14:21 he says, «Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me…» And again in John 14:23,24 «If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching…he who does not love me will not obey my teaching.» Do you see the connection? Obedience to the commands of God is the proof that you truly know God. It is not the length of time you spend at fellowship or all night prayer meetings or Christian activities. They are important, but if you do all these and disobey God by cheating in examinations and in other areas as well, especially when you know that it is wrong, then how can you call yourself a Christian? Where is the proof that you love God when you intentionally disobey him? You cannot separate love for Christ and obedience to his instructions.

Take the right decision

I urge you to consider God’s will thoroughly in this matter. If you have been cheating in examinations, let me encourage you to stop it at once. Get out of a study group that encourages cheating or that says you should help your group members in the examination hall. Pay attention to your studies, ask questions in class, consult teachers on subjects you do not understand. Ask God to help you understand what you study so you can pass your examinations, and He will. Make honesty and integrity important pillars in your Christian life. Maybe you are reading this tract and you have never trusted Christ as your Saviour. You have not experienced the power he gives people to say «No» to the temptation to cheat. You can ask him into your life by praying a prayer like this one:

«Jesus, I believe you were sent by God to take the punishment I deserved and to be my Saviour. Please forgive me and free me from my sin. Come into my life and fulfil the longing in my heart that I have had for so long. Break Satan’s hold over my life and give me victory over all temptations. Guide me to understand and follow your ways. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. I love you, Jesus. In your name I pray, Amen.»

As you obey Jesus, also in the area of being honest in education, business or in your private life, he will get closer to you, and you will grow as a Christian. Jesus said, «Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my father, and I too will love him and show myself to him» (John 14: 21). «If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him» (John 14:23). May God richly bless you as you obey him by not cheating anymore. 

Rev. Agnes Philips