It really is, isn’t it.
- In relationships, staying loyal is harder than going out and having an affair.
- In school, studying hard and not cheating is harder than the opposite.
- In sports, practicing and honing your skill is harder than taking performance enhancing drugs.
- In work, working diligently and learning your craft is harder than padding your resume with false experiences and degrees.
So, the question is: why not take the shortcut? Why not cheat, steal, enhance, fake, lie? One obvious answer is, of course, getting caught. But beyond that what reasons are there? How about living with yourself? You can’t escape your own conscience and you can’t escape your own awareness of being a cheater. Knowing those things about yourself has consequences. You don’t act the same, work the same, love the same when you have guilt driving your thoughts. You will lash out defensively when it makes no sense for you to do so. You will be paranoid. You will always struggle with it.
But if you walk the straight and narrow road and everyone else cheats, aren’t you playing on an uneven playing field? Others get ahead while you slog away in the trenches, not making the same progress? That’s not fair, right? No, it’s not. But the answer isn’t cheating. The answer is believing that living a right life is its own reward. You get to live with your conscience clear, whether or not someone else does better than you. You get to be on solid ground.
There is a story that Jesus taught illustrating this.
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Now, I am not suggesting you have to obey a certain set of biblical rules by telling this story. What I am saying is that a clear conscience and a solid ethic will hold you up throughout your life much better shortcuts, a guilty conscience and an opportunistic and selfish ethic.
Drawing © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
“Wickedness is always easier than virtue; for it takes the shortcut to everything.” – Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784, English writer