Favorite day of the week: Devotional Mondays!
Use Your Words Wisely
Passage: Exodus 20:15
The experience is well over eight years old, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I had an appointment with the Teaching Assistant (TA) from my Ethics class in her office across campus, but I did not know what she wanted to discuss. We sat down and began to discuss a paper I compiled three nights prior. She asked a few questions about the writing, glanced at the stapled pages, and replied, “I believe you got this information from somewhere. There’s no way a
student like you could write something like this.” I felt frozen. I was horrified and offended by her remark! I asked if there was a student who turned in similar work, to which she said no. I asked if I provided incorrect references, or if a citation system was used to check my work, and she said no. The paper I pulled my first overnighter for was the thing that brought me into the office, but my integrity was in question.
Writing is a profound aspect of my life. I constantly seek out ways to improve my techniques and expound upon my vocabulary. So the Optimist Club accolade, handful of publications and the book I was working on at the time certainly could not have reflected the ideals of someone who is vehemently against plagiarism! I left her office stunned that afternoon because I had never been called a thief before. Even more so, I was never called a thief with no supporting evidence. I carry that memory around with me as a tool to stay focused and truthful. I might make mistakes with putting citations in the wrong spot or spell a word incorrectly, but I will never pass off someone’s writing as my own. I love the literary voice that God has given me far too much to incorporate that of someone else without proper due.
Although I hope it never happens again, there might be another person in the future who accuses me of stealing intellectual property. I will be prepared to stand my ground with facts and not assumptions, just as I did years ago. Use the words that God blessed you with and you will always be correct!
Heavenly Father, continue to show me the ways to stay honest in my everyday walk. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).