Email Forwards – The New Gossip

You could also subtitle this entry, “Please stop sending me junk…”

I got yet another email forward from a well-meaning friend; the content is a teetering stack of various falsehoods. Some things seem plausible, and there’s this urge to pass the information along to others. I’m learning to fight that urge.

But we need to think about what we’re doing here. Our church admonishes people against gossip, yet here are emails that are completely false, and do nothing but stir up bad emotions. Lies do much more damage than being misleading: they lead to hate.

And hate is an infection that changes us, eventually undermining our trust in God and each other, eventually turning us from God and to selfish things. Allowed to fester, it begins to undo the good we’ve done.

It’s also highly pretentious – and it reminds me in no small degree of the Pharisees – to state in the email, “If you love God, you’ll send this to 10 people.”

Now just think about that a second – Who are you to judge anyone’s love for God? And why should you guilt-trip someone into forwarding something that’s falsehood? Isn’t that a big chunk of the essence of gossip – perpetuation of untruth?

Please look twice at what you’re sending. Are you representing ‘Salt and Light’ or are you representing rocks and darkness?

It’s hard to tell the truth. It’s never been easy. But it’s the right thing to do, and we all know it. Truth always seems to require a little extra effort. And in this case the extra effort is to check what you’re sending before you become an unknowing accomplice in spreading darkness.

I included some links around the blog here to help you sort truth from fiction. I generally recommend Snopes because they seem to try to keep up with all the rumors and intimations everywhere, and they seem to stay pretty much up-to-date. FactCheck is also good.

Okay, if all that isn’t enough, then here’s the hammer to try to drive more nails in this coffin:

Exodus 20:16:

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

I don’t see much ambiguity in that, do you…?

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