Friday, January 8, 2010

It's Not What You Think. this is a bit of a rant about an all too common practice that I finally cannot keep quiet about.  I know how everyone likes to forward and copy and paste stuff passing along to "all" their friends but I've had it.  We all receive so many thoughtlessly forwarded emails every day by people who say, "Oh this is nice" and just click the "all" button and poof its in our/my mail box. I'm guessing I have a cheering section that is shouting Amen and is doing the wave by now.  This is about things that, beneath their surface, are really not so "nice" at all but quite devious in their nature.  I make no apologies for what I am about to say but ask that you consider what I share here carefully.

You know those emails or status updates that say how Jesus was thinking of you as He went to the cross or have some testimony or talk of Jesus love or dying for our sins; the ones that all end with a statement that infers that if you don't pass them along to 10 people or copy and post "this" on your own status you somehow are ashamed of Christ?  Well, they actually make my stomach churn.  I find them offensive.  They make me want to give my email box a bath and scrub my Facebook clean of them. They feel creepy crawly and icky.

These messages come in a myriad of flavors and there are hundreds and thousands of them circulating which means I have the expressed joy of being repeatedly offended by the same ones over and over and over again.  I receive them in emails at least 2 to 3 times a week and over holiday seasons seem to get overrun with them.  On Facebook they have begun to pop up every single day, several times a day!  Makes me feel all warm a fuzzy inside ya know.  So what is it about them that makes me feel this way?  I've been mulling over this for some time and let me share what I've been considering.

Contrary to what some people may think this is not a personal offense to me that leads me to share here but rather it is a dangerous deception fostered by these messages .  These types of messages grate on my spirit because of how these closing statements brings forth the foul taste of guilt and anxiousness and fear, all of which I was at one time bound helplessly by and no longer wish to have anything to do with if I can at all help it.   The closing statement does not produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness nor stir me up to greater faith or to love and good works in Jesus Christ, which is what we are to stir up in our fellow believers. It does not purvey the love of Christ nor conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit either for it is not a sin to not pass along the email or post the said status on my profile.  It only adds a burden of guilt which binds up with fear so "enough already"!

Also offensive and disturbing are those that are in effect chain letters which promise blessing if you forward them or a curse if you don't!  Really!?!  Why would anyone want to pass a along a possible curse to their friends?  Now I know you may be thinking I'm making a big deal out of nothing here but I strongly disagree.  There are some who are weak in their faith and others who do not yet trust in Jesus that will look at these notices and be lead astray instead of lead to Christ.  These dear ones will be unable to not fear the awful thing behind door #1 and will trust in the vain presumption of an assumed blessing behind door #2.  They will because of their lack of faith and understanding chose to pass along the devious message like it has some magic power to unlock one or the other because of what they do or don't do.  They will unwittingly send it to everyone they know or to a Christian friend because Christ's name is in it so it has to be good, instead of choosing to trust in Christ for the saving of their souls.  Hey I've been there before, I know what I'm talking about.  So how about you?  And what about them!?!

With that said and if you feel you are honoring Christ by passing these along my question to you is this; Has this message actually brought them closer to Jesus?  Your answer should be a resounding "No"! It has brought them just the to the exact opposite.  So do you still think its not a big deal?  You may be tempted to argue with me here but I would say that what you are doing is stroking your fleshly desire to feel good about what you are "doing" like its some good work that will somehow earn you something and nothing more.

"If you are not ashamed of Jesus...", this is the other thing that is always stated.  So if I don't re-post this "Status Sticker" or email the email to the required minimum number of people I am ashamed of Christ!?!  REALLY! That goes straight to offending the faith that God has given me in Christ my savior and it should yours as well!  That somehow I don't love Jesus or that I am ashamed of Him if I don't post it is absolutely ludicrous!  Anyone who has seen and read my profile page knows otherwise. "I rejoice that it is not by any strength or wisdom of my own that I am able to do even the smallest thing, but that it is by His good grace and will that I may glorify Him and that Christ be made known to all men."  That is my statement on my profile beneath my picture along with the numerous notes I've written including my testimony! I work hard to take the testimony of Jesus everywhere with me.  I'm even crazy enough to witness to people on the Farm Town game where I also pray for and encourage people too.  The gospel goes with me where ever the people are just as Jesus went where the people were.  So if you want to post that you are not ashamed of Jesus Christ I heartily urge you to do just that, but consider carefully the rest of what you say afterward and only when you are certain it will produce good fruit, pass it along to others lest you unintentionally lead them astray or offend them.

I believe these "Status Stickers" as I've decided to call them, are offensive to the Gospel of Christ also.  Not the part that is truth of what Jesus did, but only the later portion which lures people from true faith and hope in Christ and into fear, anxiousness and even lust for blessings.  Before the days of social networking this was done via email with all the emoticons and pretty pictures.  The emails stated that if you pass them along you will receive a blessing in 10 minutes or something horrible will happen if you don't!  Hey that's a chain letter isn't it!YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!!!  The author of this dribble is non other than Satan who would love nothing more than for you and me to be afraid and to not trust God.  Just enough truth to at the front end to tickle the ear and the rear end is, well, just putrid swill that incites in us fear, guilt and lust. Do we really think by passing these things along that we are in any way pleasing God? this point I'm guessing not.

So with all that said I challenge all of you who are read this who are followers of Jesus Christ to stop posting Status Sticker updates, stop sending those chain letter emails and go for the real gusto.  Start quoting scripture.  Tell what God just did for you or someone else you know!  Testify of His goodness in your life!  Make Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace and other social networking opportunities a living tract!  By that I mean, if you use any social networking sites on the internet, read your profile information and consider carefully what that information conveys about your being ashamed of Christ or not.  Do you state without apology that Jesus is your Lord and Savior?  IF your profile information does not scream "I am not ashamed of HIM who died for me" then I have a question for you.  "Are you really not ashamed of the gospel of Christ???"  Does your profile information speak of your faith and love for Jesus Christ and of your love for your neighbors or do you look just like those who do not yet trust in Him?

Now that you have taken a look at your profile and if you have found yourself wanting in this area, what will you do about it?  Get rid of the things that clutter the view of Christ in your life!  Make room for His word and stories of His love.  Start a blog or send your testimony in a note to all those social networking friends of yours. Tell any who will listen of what God has done for you in saving you from death with a glad shout so that others might hear and also come to Christ!

I pray as time is growing ever shorter, that God may help us to walk as those brought from death to life, giving Jesus Christ the honor He is due and no longer walking as those ashamed of the gospel of Christ where ever we may be.  May we hold fast to the royal law which is to love the Lord God with all our heart, mind soul and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves.

Copyright © 2010 by Patty Hicks

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  1. Thanks Marliss. I have your Facebook comment to thank for the encouragement to write this.