Yesterday I was standing in line at the omelet making station of a nice restaurant serving brunch … there were 4 or 5 people ahead on me in line. A well-dressed, middle-age man with his teenage son walked in front of the line in an attempt to place their omelet orders. The chef making the omelets gently told the man there was a line.
As the man stepped back, I assumed he was just making an honest mistake, so I jokingly asked; “Were you trying to cut in line?” His response surprised … and saddened me. He said, “Absolutely … if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.”
It’s a hard element to measure, but it sure feels like our society is increasingly turning to shortcuts and even cheating to get what they want. And the guy in the omelet line was not only attempting to cheat … he even adapted a slogan to glorify it. If this is what he openly does in public, he must even be worse when no one is looking, when no accountability is in place to contain him. What is he teaching his young son?
Then I realized how often “I cut in line” in my day. Sleeping in … taking that extra doughnut or cookie … not confronting a situation that needs it … procrastinating a less desirable task or project … judging someone before all the evidence is in … doing a task halfway … leaving that wrapper behind the garbage for someone else to pick up. And these all happened before lunch! I am too embarrassed to tell you my major “short-cuts” … otherwise labeled bad habits, addictions, or dysfunctional patterns of cheating in life.
It’s unbelievable what we are willing to do to avoid a little discomfort … rationalizing it so we believe it is self-protective, when actually, it is self-destructive. Our shortcuts harm our brain circuitry, our personality and psychological skill maturation, and they are especially harmful to our spiritual walk in developing the Mind of Christ. You see, these shortcuts don’t renew the mind, they undermine, weaken, and deceive or brainwash the mind.
Today, examine your behavior and actions. Are you taking shortcuts or cheating? Why? Is feeling “good” or avoiding some discomfort worth sacrificing yourself so much? Be mindful that even minor infractions eventually trend toward major violations. However, minor character- building actions truly renew your mind so you become a powerful lighthouse of character. As always, the choice is yours … don’t harm yourself, choose well.
O God, I confess that I have been guilty of cheating … in small and in big ways. I ask Your forgiveness, Father. I know You have protected me from many consequences of my shortcuts … thank You for Your amazing grace. I pray that You fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that He may guide me to the “right-way” … into “Your way” in all that I do. Help me not to be deceived into believing the shortcuts are beneficial to me. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who always avoided shortcuts with ultimate integrity and character, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright.