dear Feeling Ugly,
When I read your question, the first thing I wanted to do was to give you a big hug and let you know that you are so, so deeply loved and very beautiful (even if you don’t see it). Living in a society that speaks of beauty as being mostly skin deep, it is tough for us to see things from another angle and redefine beauty according to God.
Growing up, I remember having similar thoughts. It was so tough understanding what it means to say, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps 139:14). Wonderful? That surely doesn’t sound like how I feel about myself. But through the years, I’ve begun to understand that God (and many others) doesn’t focus just on my looks — He looks beyond that.
Beauty encompasses so much more than how I look on the outside. God sees the efforts I put into what I do. He sees the kind words that I utter to others. He sees my heart toward Him. And I know He says, “You are beautiful, my daughter. Don’t ever forget that.”
Time and again, when I focus on God’s Word and His promises to be with me (Ps 139:13–18; Zeph 3:17), and choose to see myself through His eyes, things start to change. Often when we feel lousy about ourselves, it could be that we are focusing more on ourselves than on Christ. Focus on Christ and let Him affirm who you truly are to Him — beautiful and loved beyond measure, however you look.
Well done for resisting the temptation to copy the answers! Doing the right thing is not always easy and I believe you feel this way because you know that what the others did was wrong.
Many a time, we can’t and shouldn’t dictate the actions that people choose, but we can be the light where we are placed. Telling on your friends may be one way of dealing with the situation, but it is very likely that they might get upset with you and merely repeat their actions again. Another way you may approach the situation is to use this opportunity to tell them why you chose not to copy. They may then see how being honest is more important than any grade they can ever achieve.
Don’t give up doing what is right even if everyone else is doing otherwise. Your life’s example stands out and, most importantly, God is delighted with you. Keep walking with Him closely and let Him direct your paths (Ps 37:1–7).