Everyone does it, right?

I used to be the Head of Languages at a local secondary school. I left the profession two years ago.

Because of the long hours? The marking burden? Ofsted stress? Student behaviour?

None of these, in fact.

I left the classroom because of God’s clear command to be ‘above reproach’ (1 Tim 3:2).

Cheating Culture

Being above reproach doesn’t just mean avoiding sin. It means avoiding anything that could be seen as wrong – anything that could reflect negatively on our perfectly holy Father.

You may not be the one cutting the dodgy deal - but if you’re round the table, you’re not above reproach. Not the one bullying the new starter? If it’s your mate, you’re involved.

In my situation, cheating on coursework was so embedded in the culture that it was expected. To not cheat was to let the kids down.

“Everyone does it,” my colleague told me. “If they didn’t, no kid from any school would write Spanish to a C-grade standard, let alone get an A*.”

She was right. The mark schemes were made harder to counter the effect of cheating. If I didn’t bend the rules, I was condemning my students to fail.

If I did, I was rejecting God’s clear word to me. So I got a new job.

Fallen Culture

In a fallen world, it’s impossible to avoid any link to wrongdoing. The warehouse worker is at no fault for the CEO’s decision to find a tax loophole.

But ask yourself, how involved am I here? Would I be ashamed if my small group or a Christian friend knew about what I was involved in? 

With a tendency to keep our work and Christian lives separate, perhaps they will never find out.

But God sees. And he calls us to be above reproach – to reflect his purity in all we do.