I just found out about a young boy in Georgia who has been diagnosed with a rare disease. I know about him because my cousin’s wife’s second cousin’s daughter goes to school where this little boy’s uncle’s brother coaches P.E. in Florida. This boy’s family does not have insurance, his parents are both unemployed due to layoffs resulting from the down-turn of our economy. A special arrangement with Amory Hospital, the Pediatric Disease Foundation, the Pediatric Doctor’s Fellowship, and GoFigure ISP will pay for all his treatment. Here is how this works, if enough people get this message and forward it to enough friends a special tracking system developed by IT specialist at GoFigure ISP will keep track of the numbers, and a matching grant trust set up by the above groups will give one dollar toward the family’s expenses for everyone who receives this message. When you do forward this message, you will automatically be entered into a drawing for an all-expense paid trip to Orlando compliments of the cooperation of Mikey Moose and MicroTosh Computers.
I hope by now you know that this is a hoax, if not maybe the 100 people you sent this to have. I made the entire message up, but it does sound like a lot of emails people send me and posts I see on social media. You know the type; the O’Hare’s are at it again, a virus is coming attached to email, rapists are stalking the malls looking for women in khaki skirts who care about children, they are conspiring against your group and identity, and [a certain billionaire] will send you money if you forward this because you love Jesus.
When the Holy Spirit inspired the Bible, computers and email were a long way into the future, so God did not specifically mention them. God did however deal with our nature as people. There is something within us that thrives on passing along news — good news, bad news, warnings, and blessings. Jesus, knowing our tendencies, said, “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matt 12:36-37 (LSB). I know that this is specifically about spoken words, but could not this passage just as well say, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may transmit, they will give an account of it in the Day of Judgment. For by your emails and posts you will be justified and by your texting you will be condemned.”?
Here is the point: We are to manage our words and our time wisely, we are to use our words and time to build people up. Paul writes, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for building up what is needed, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 3And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and anger and wrath and shouting and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Eph 4:29-31.
The telephone replaced the back fence as the way to communicate rumors. Emails and social networking are replacing the telephone as the means of spreading gossip. Paul warns about being a busybody and gossip in 1Ti 5:13.
In our rush to pass on news, whether in verbal space or cyberspace, we are becoming guilty of gossip and evil speaking. We must stop. Here are some email and conversational guidelines:
- Tell only what you know firsthand.
- The only person you are qualified to talk about is you.
- If what you say or type does not benefit the reader (or the written about) do not send it.
- If it was forwarded to you and many others before you – delete it and stop the chain.
- If it sounds like it might be true check it out before you send (spread) it.
Send this to those who always forward to you 😉