Through Hard Places: Integrity for sale

“Could you help me with this? I just don’t have the time!”

I listened as she outlined what her professor required and what she actually wanted me to do – research, compile, type, send to her via e-mail so she could print and submit…

Slowly, it dawned on me that what she was requesting fell well outside the parameters of my definition of help. She was not asking me to proofread a completed research paper and check for inconsistencies or grammatical errors. She was asking me to do all the legwork that she should have months before, but did not, because she “just did not have the time.” My work would be submitted as her own.

A wave of something akin to shock washed over me and several choice responses wafted across my brain waves. This would not do. I needed to rein in my out-of-control mental activity.

“I am willing to pay, you know…”

I had all but forgotten the mobile phone held to my ear and she disrupted my musing. There was no way around the issue, and I was not inclined to do the diplomatic dance of political correctness, so I refused. My integrity was not for sale.


I extended an olive branch… If you need proofreading assistance when you’re done, feel free to let me know.”

Eventually, I heard a halting “Alright…” at the other end, and just like that it was over.

It would have been easy to second-guess my decision because there nothing quite like the ‘unemployed’ label to make you consider every and any job or working condition out of sheer desperation. Third World realities can mess with your head… if you allow them to.

hard places

In a society where some embrace ways to pay for qualifications instead of sitting examinations, we need more individuals to step up to the plate and declare: “If you don’t have the time to do your own work; then you do not have the time (or the right) to walk down the aisle and collect your degree.” This instant age needs a reality check.

Among sane adults, there should be no ethical minority.

Untarnished integrity pays no bills, but character determines destiny, and the matter of ultimate reality is something we all need to face.

There is a way that seems right. Paved with ‘God-will-understands’ and sweat-less brows, it never ends with the certificate or degree or a few dollars earned (Proverbs 16:25). The high road may seem narrow and winding and longer than the Nile, a million times over, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)

This… to know the only true God. Life eternal.

To know Him is to love Him; to love Him is to obey Him (John 14:15). As such, the ninth commandment of His irrevocable Moral Law, which guards against a lifestyle of false witness (aka dishonesty or straight-up lying), is still valid and binding.

May we ever choose life – eternal life – regardless of the diabolical ruckus on the periphery.

Our God is Faithful.


Referenced article:
CXCs For Sale: Schools, employers… could be taking in people with purchased results, The Jamaica Gleaner, September 2, 2012

Image credit: R. M. Jackson (“Growth in hard places”)

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