Oct 10, 2006

Will you go against your principles for personal gain?

by Kari Mitchell, Editor in Chief

“Is There Really a Human Race?” is the title of the new children’s book by actress Jamie Lee Curtis and illustrator Laura Cornell. The book is not referring to ethnicity or a united people, but rather a physical race – one that we are all in to win. Curtis asks questions such as, “Is there pushing and shoving to get to the lead?” and “ If the race is unfair, will I succeed?” Unfortunately, there is pushing and shoving, and the race is often unfair. When faced with these seemingly insurmountable trials in life, it’s hard not to question one’s ability to succeed. From my own experience, in any race or any aspect of life, it’s not fun to lose. No one likes the feelings of defeat and disappointment that often accompany a loss. Will a self-proclaiming Christian compromise his or her values in order to avoid failure? The opportunities to do so are endless. 

 

In school, pressure is put on students to do well and strive for good grades. Parents who are paying their child’s tuition or professors who hold the power to fail students can be intimidating to students who doesn’t feel like they’re running the race fast enough. They have two choices – run faster or cheat. Academic dishonesty is one of the biggest problems in institutions today. For some schools, such as the University of Virginia,violations to the honor code will result in immediate expulsion. According to the Liberty Way, if students are caught engaging in any type of academic dishonesty, they will receive a failing grade for the course and up to 30 reprimands. Academic dishonesty ought to be a paradox at Liberty.

The wisdom and experience acquired during college will be helpful when entering the work force, another place where people will go to unethical lengths to succeed. Some work fields are more competitive than others and that fierce competition can drive students to compromise their morals in order to land a job for which they are not fully qualified.

 

On the Web site  www.FakeResume.com, applicants for jobs are encouraged to fake their resumes and even lie during interviews. The site also posted statistics released by the background screening company HireRight that show how serious this problem is in the . The company’s numbers show that 80 percent of all resumes are misleading, 20 percent state fraudulent degrees, 30 percent show altered employment dates, 40 percent have inflated salary claims, 30 percent have inaccurate job descriptions, 25 percent list companies that no longer exist and 27 percent give falsified references. FakeResume.com’s point is that “everyone does it.” Employers may want to see impressive resumes, but God isn’t impressed with false credentials.

 

God has equipped His people with skills for specific jobs, and He wants us to use these gifts to honor Him. Often, the desire for wealth and prestige can cloud ourjudgment and we labor for the wrong reasons. Because I am an aspiring journalist, one name in particular comes to my mind: Jack Kelley of USA Today. According to USA Today’s Web site, Kelley fabricated at least eight major stories, including one that helped make him a 2001 Pulitzer Prize finalist. His 21-year career with USA Today is over. The lengths that he went to in order to achieve       success cost him his job and for him, the race in journalism is finished.

 

Life is a race, not one run on a physical track, but one that has a particular course chosen by the Almighty Coach, the Savior Jesus Christ. We were destined for this race and conditioning began in our mother’s womb. Our birth marked the beginning and one day we will cross the finish line. Can we stand as Paul did in 2 Timothy 4:7 and proclaim, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have remained faithful” (NLT)? Christ wants us to finish well, but finishing first isn’t the purpose of the race.

 

Christ said in Matthew 19:30 that the last will be first and the first shall be last. It’s not about winning or coming in ahead of everyone else— it’s about witnessing to the ones God has placed in our path. He wants us to run our race with honesty and integrity in order to bring honor to Him and spread the Gospel to those we meet along the way. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne” (NLT).

 

Contact Kari Mitchell at kdmitchell2@liberty.edu.

 


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