Working with people with special needs, I’ve discovered that your IQ doesn’t determine your honesty quotient. Yes, they are the most wonderful people I’ve ever had the privilege with which to work. However, cheating is as systematic in a special needs population as people with normal IQ’s.
Dan Ariely, a psychology and behavioral economics professor at Duke University, has studied the subject of cheating for years. He has found that nearly everyone cheats a small amount almost every day. Yet, he believes there is good news. His research finds that simply reciting the 10 commandments drastically cuts and may actually eliminate cheating. Even people who claim to be atheists will not cheat after the 10-commandment reminder.
Each of us who follow Christ find that the pull of our Adamic nature is stronger than we would have ever imagined. Paul graphically speaks of this great battle in Romans 7:21-23. He wrote, “So I have learned this rule: When I want to do good, evil is there with me. In my mind, I am happy with God’s law. But I see another law working in my body, which makes war against the law that my mind accepts. That other law working in my body is the law of sin, and it makes me its prisoner” (NCV)
Last year, I was audited by the IRS. The audit was triggered by the gas stove I purchased that I thought would qualify under the IRS rules but did not. For years I’ve done my own taxes. Because my husband had just died, I knew that I needed help to go through this experience. I hired a CPA to handle the audit. To my great embarrassment, he found multiple “mistakes.” As a result, I’ll probably never do my own taxes again.
For years, we struggled at Special Gathering which is chapel ministry within the mentally challenged community with a young man who stole pencils. We use borrowed facilities and there were often pencils are in containers on desks. Now this was a man who came from an extremely wealthy family. He had no need for the pencils he skillfully slipped into his book bag.
Each of us must accept that we are susceptible to the “cheating effect.” Therefore, we should take steps to combat that great struggle. I’m delighted that Paul doesn’t end his debate in Romans 7 but Romans 8:1-2 follows. Again, Paul writes, “So now, those who are in Christ Jesus are not judged guilty. Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit that brings life made you free from the law that brings sin and death.”