There’s a nasty epidemic raging in the cyber world. At first, it appears to be innocent. Yet when it’s unleashed it mercilessly attacks the Christian Internet community. This plague can be found on your computer. Its goal is to fill your email inbox with guilt and condemnation. Many Christians are deeply offending their brothers and sisters in Christ. They do so by using subtle intimidation to get them to forward their annoying, guilt-filled chain-emails. These correspondences basically declare that the test of one’s love for Jesus depends on whether or not one forwards their email to their email list. I get one almost weekly and they all say pretty much the same thing. Here’s an example of one. “If you aren’t ashamed to do this, please follow the directions. Jesus said, ‘If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before my Father.’ Not ashamed? Pass this on… only if you mean it.”
Yes, I do love Jesus. He is my source of existence. Jesus is my Savior and Lord! He keeps me functioning each and every day. Without Him I would be nothing. I don’t have to prove my devotion to Jesus by forwarding someone’s foolish email. Here’s another example: “This is the simplest test . . . if you Love God and are not ashamed of all the marvelous things he has done for you. Send this to ten people and the person who sent it to you!” If you have sent one of these types of chain-emails, shame on you! How dare you question my loyalty to God by demanding I prove it to you! What these emails say to me personally is that I’m ashamed of God and my love for Jesus is disputed if I don’t forward their email! I don’t know about you but I hate when some well-meaning lamebrain insists that my loyalty to God and country be solely tested on whether or not I forward their email! This sort of thing most definitely offends me, especially when it comes from someone who knows me.
It reminds me of the “Honk if you love Jesus” bumper sticker that was real popular a decade ago. “To honk or not to honk.” That is the question. If I don’t honk does it mean I don’t love Jesus? It can be somewhat intimidating. My dear, and fellow minister Bob, told me that he saw a car with a “Honk if you love Jesus” bumper stickers on it, So he honked his car horn. The person driving with the “Honk” sticker on his car looked back at Bob and flipped him the bird.
Perhaps I’m a bit too sensitive, but I know that others feel the same way I do. I’ve discussed this issue with others and found many who share my views. They hate these “forward-if-you-love-Jesus” emails, as well. So, I’m not alone in my distaste of them. Now notice the wording in these emails and ask yourself, “How does this make me feel?” “If you aren’t ashamed to do this, please follow the directions.” “Jesus said, ‘If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before my Father.’ “If you love Jesus send this to 10 people…” I don’t know who comes up with these, but they need to stop and think before they indulge in this sort of mass harassment of the Christian cyber community. They should consider these words of our Lord. “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)
Then there are the emails that question my patriotism and my love for my country. I received a good example recently. The email was voicing outrage over the fact that the Spanish language is being forced on us English speaking Americans. It declares… If you don’t want to forward this for fear of offending someone, then… YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM! The email ends with… “WAKE UP America!!! If you agree— pass this on… if you don’t agree— delete it!!!” What did I do? I deleted it but not because I didn’t sympathize with the message in the email. I do. I believe that if you’re going to take up residency in the USA you should learn our language just like most every other immigrant had to do. However, when I read the email down to the bottom and came to the part about not being a good American if I don’t forward this email, I deleted that sucker! Yes, I deleted that offensive email because I will not be intimidated by some well-meaning sap’s email. I am a patriot who proudly served my country. In fact, I went to war for my country in Vietnam. How dare someone to implied otherwise if I don’t pass their insulting (expletive deleted) email to others. If you are guilty of this sort of thoughtless behavior, please stop. Be assured that if you send me any of these chain-email, I will delete it and will likely reply to it with a polite rebuke!
*By the way if you truly love Jesus, email this to 10 of your friends… ah… just kidding.