Cheating is essentially acting dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain a personal advantage. Cheating disregards set rules in favor of personal success. When a selfish desire for victory or accomplishment outweighs a moral commitment to truthfulness and equality, cheating can become a temptation. But as new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), we can choose to refuse harmful temptations (Matthew 26:41; 1 Corinthians 10:13).
Christians must strive to glorify the Lord with their thoughts and actions (1 Corinthians 3:16). Cheating goes against the goodness that will glorify Him. Dishonesty mars an individual’s integrity and reputation (Proverbs 10:9). Not presenting oneself truthfully is lying, and lying is a sin (Leviticus 19:11; Proverbs 12:22).
Even though the world excuses dishonesty when it deems it trivial, God asks His followers to be truth-tellers all the time. If a student does poorly on a test because he didn’t study, his low grade is a natural consequence of a poor choice. God will honor that honesty, and the student can learn from his mistakes. A bad grade on a test may teach and motivate a student to study harder ahead of time or get a tutor or get enough sleep the night before. Grades in school should represent what has been learned in the class and the subsequent work of the student. Cheating seeks to bypass the learning process and manipulate consequences through dishonesty.
Followers of Christ need to walk in the light, and cheating prevents people from seeing Christ’s glory. Dishonesty taints the goodness the children of God should have (Philippians 2:15; Ephesians 5:8). If our own Heavenly Father condemns lying (Proverbs 6:16–19), there is no way a believer can justify even a “harmless” lie such as cheating.
Cheating is a selfish act that gives us an advantage over others who are facing the same challenge. As Christians, we should seek to help others fairly and justly while maintaining moral integrity and a godly reputation. Cheating simply does not help uphold that standard.