Friday, July 31, 2009
You really should clarify it. People are going to get the wrong impression of you, she cautiously warned me. She raised her left eyebrow, pursed her lips, and nodded to affirm her own statement. The office secretary and I have a sisterly relationship and she always has my best interests in mind. I thought long and hard about my previous blog post and said to myself, Maybe I was too honest, too open, too transparent. But my entire life I've lived trying to give people an impression that I'm holier than I am, healthier than I am, happier than I am. But I'm not. I'm a broken person who is in a transformation process, searching the good Lord for His will and answers for my life.
I mentioned that I was caught for plagiarism in college, but here's the full story:
Whittier College hired the W.O.R.S.T adjunct professor the Art History department ever seen. She was horribly disorganized, read books with commentary as her own lecture, and at times she even looked like she was going to fall asleep in the middle of her lectures. In addition to this, she breathed funny.
The entire semester I saw students skip class, download term papers from the internet, sleep in class, and even walk out during group discussion. I cringed knowing that I was paying $378 per class lecture while members from the lacrosse team who had taken the class the previous semester gave their term papers to their teammates to resubmit and they received stellar grades. I was appalled. In short, I felt like I was the only one not cheating and the only one struggling to get this professor to find my work worthy of an A. It was the final term paper and I needed to nail it to get an A in the course. Four people downloaded entire essays from the internet, three people used finals from the previous semester, and two people bought essays from other students. I had studied, I had researched, I had done the work... except I needed a knock-out introduction and thesis which just so happened to be on an essay I found online. So I used it. And I was caught. And my entire academic career was obliterated in one conversation with the Dean of Academics. I was devastated and humiliated and because of one stupid decision I could not graduate summa cum laude, magma cum laude, or even cum laude. Poof! My hopes disappeared.
I wanted to drag my classmates under the bus with me! I wanted to drop dime on everyone! If I was going to go down, so would everyone else! I only copied one paragraph, they copied entire papers for the entire semester. But I said nothing because cheating is cheating, copying is copying, and sin is sin. Yesterday I was reminded of this while reading a book on leadership. Matthew 7:3 reminded me that I am not to be a hypocrite:
3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
So this is me. I have specks (and logs) in my eyes, I walk with a limp (not because of my short leg), and I'm broken but beautiful because God uses perforated people to do the impossible. Before we start calling people out on their "big" sins of adultery, drunkenness, and idolatry, remember that cheating is cheating, copying is copying, and sin is sin. Specks, logs, sex, lies... it's all the same. All we can do is admit it and ask for forgiveness.