For years at work during lunch, I played double-deck military-style pinochle with the same three men. All were strong Christians.
One day, I let it slip that I was praying for winning hands. My opponent on my left said that was cheating.
“Cheating” means “breaking the rules.”
Since there was nothing in the published rules that said I couldn’t pray, how could I be cheating? Simple. We also had house rules.
Since everyone could pray, I proposed a change in the house rules.
The goal is to win at all cost.
As a kid playing chess with my dad, I wanted to win, so I moved one of my pieces when he wasn’t looking. I think, somehow, he knew what I had done.
“You know,” he said, “games are a lot of fun, but not if you cheat.”
“Why?” I said, feeling guilty.
“Because even if you win, you didn’t really win. It’s the worst way to lose.”
How we play the game really does matter.
Cheating only works when nobody knows.
My dad had a way with words that made me think. I hated the feeling of being caught cheating. There was no way I could win unless I could fool my dad and everyone else. How could I do that?
With practice, magicians become very good at their craft, able to deceive the sharpest eyes. To cheat successfully, I would need lots of practice.
The most important person always knows.
Unless I want to live with a cheater all my life, I can’t afford to lie, cheat, or steal anything. Why? Because I know, even if nobody else does. I can’t make a wrong move without being caught.
Besides that, God knows, which makes my actions of eternal consequence.
All of God’s commandments—to not covet—to avoid lying, cheating and stealing—to never commit adultery or murder—all these are fulfilled in one simple act of obedience: Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. — Romans 13:9