by David Sisler

There is not a parent alive who, having said, “No,” to a child, has not heard the child reply, “Everybody’s doing it!”

Well, what is everyone doing?

A poll of college students revealed 65 percent of them cheat regularly – on reports, on tests, on term papers – in spite of the fact, most colleges have a very strict honor system. An honor system means, if you cheat, you are supposed to turn yourself in. But, 65 percent cheat, because, “Everybody’s doing it.”

In the wake of the various business scandals that have developed and are developing today, a look back ten years to a scandal in the political world may be enlightening.

When a banking scandal was uncovered a decade ago in the House of Representatives, we learned that scores of congressmen bounced hundreds of checks totaling thousands, for some tens of thousands, of dollars. Their rationale – it was part of the system. In other words, “Everybody’s doing it.”

So, a few kids cheat in college and a few congressmen write bad checks and a few executives cook the books. That’s no big deal, right? I mean if that is as bad as it gets, it’s really not so bad. Right? Wrong!

A psychiatrist in Buffalo, New York, spent thousands of hours studying criminals. He began with the theory that crime is a mental illness. He ended by throwing out psychological and sociological excuses. Rehabilitation won’t work, he said. A total change is demanded. He concluded: there is no such thing as a first time offender – it’s just the first time caught, and, there is no such thing as an unpremeditated crime – they survey the scene and look for options. “Everybody’s doing it.”

In Hartford, Connecticut, a young woman, standing in a public intersection, slashed her wrists. When policemen tried to help her, she ran to the door of a Catholic Church and stood there, pressing the knife against her throat.

While police and the parish priest tried to talk the girl out of doing further harm to herself, a crowd of 300 gathered and began to chant, “Cut your throat. Cut your throat.” Some of the hecklers even threw bottles at the young woman.

When she passed out from loss of blood officials were able to take her to the hospital. One of the policemen observed, “What’s this world coming to?” Simple – “Everybody’s doing it.”

At a public swimming pool just outside of London, and with over 1000 witnesses, three teenaged hoodlums seized a young boy and held his head under water. He died eleven days later. Of those 1000 witnesses, not one person came forward to identify the murderers, although it was clear, many of the swimmers knew the three hoodlums. The police later observed, “We’ve never seen anything like it.”

Yes, they had. “Everybody’s doing it!”

The man was obviously innocent. Even a casual observer could have seen it. The witnesses lied against him, but no two of them could tell the same lie. Even the judge who signed the death sentence admitted, “I find no fault in this man.” But would you believe that as this innocent man stood before the judge, and before an organized mob, stood there bleeding because of wounds inflicted in an obvious case of police brutality, not one person would stand to his defense?

As Jesus stood before Pilate, bruised and bloodied, with Pilate trying to release Him, the crowd chanted, “Crucify him. Crucify him.” Why? Because, “Everybody’s doing it!”

Like it or not, everybody really is doing it. The Bible says, “All of us have sinned, and come short of God’s glory.”

If you want to escape the trap of “everybody’s doing it,” what do you do? Paul said, “Do not be conformed – do not be pressed into the mold – of this world. Be transformed by the total change of your mind to the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Haven’t you had enough of following “everybody?” Transformation is possible only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. That, tragically, is something everybody is not doing.


Copyright 2002 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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