Question #2: How should I treat messages on social media instructing me to 'forward to x number of people' after reading? Do I Oblige or simply Ignore them?
Funny, I must say. But it’s a good thing I’m not alone. How many times have I gotten messages from “the CEO of whatsapp” telling me to forward his broadcast to all the names on my chat list to prove that I’m still active…and my icon will turn from one colour to another. Well, that’s easy for someone with a few names on his chat list, but the last time I checked, Of my 3000+ phone contacts, 1919 of them are on whatsapp. So such a ridiculous broadcast leaves me with two options:
- Tell the CEO and whatever of whatsapp to go to xxxx
- Belabour myself with the impossible task of sending a message to a thousand people. I can bet that my phone will hang in the process
Okay, fine. But what if the message is a very good message—perhaps an irresistible prayer or a short-cut evangelism—but tells you to forward to 12 people in 12 minutes so that something good can happen in 12 days or ignore it and something terrible will happen in 12 hours? Do I still ignore?
Without mincing words, let me tell you what I think…
- Trace most of those messages to its original source (of course, not your friend that sent it to you), and you will most probably find a hacker! There’s a way they can trail that message as it keeps going from contact to contact, getting personal details of the victims. Are you scared? No worries.
- Any message that instills fear—no matter how subtle—is not of God. (Even when the fear attached is the fear of losing your place in heaven if you fail to forward the message). The Bible is clear: “GOD DID NOT GIVE US A SPIRIT OF FEAR” (2 Timothy 1:7).
- So the devil appears as an angel of light, putting a somewhat Christian message in the heart of a social media user—yes, it’s counter-intuitive, but it works for the devil—anything that will groom some fear in the heart of the believer pleases him! And since many believers have been (wrongly) taught that Jesus started their salvation but the rest of the job is up to them, such broadcasts will make them afraid and probably condemned if they were unable to oblige in full.
- Besides, Jesus did not give us the great commission to send it to 8 or 12 or just the few people on our chat list—His message to us is for all ethnic groups from where we are to the end of the earth! That tells us two things:
- You can’t single-handedly reach everyone
- You should reach as many as you can reach—not just 8 or 12.
- Where does that leave you?
- Before sending a message and instructing others to send to others, ask yourself—WILL THIS BUILD FAITH OR FEAR? If it’s a faith booster, go ahead! If it’s a fear motivator, let it end with you.
- Before sending a message that you found useful to others, edit away the traces of fear therein (like that part that says send to x number of people), then share it (quoting your source where necessary) to the convenient number of people or groups you want to send it to.
- You are UNDER NO OBLIGATION to yield to all those “send to x number of people” and don’t feel bad about it.
- But know this: YOU WILL BE ACCOUNTABLE ON THE “LAST DAY” FOR EVERY POST YOU EVER SHARED OR RESHARED FOR WE SHALL ALL ACCOUNT FOR ALL OUR WORDS—WRITTEN, SPOKEN, OR REASONED!
*** “But I say to you*, every idle [or, careless] word which the people shall speak, they will render an account concerning it in [the] day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36 Analytical Literal translation)
______________________ The only fear believers are encouraged to develop is the “fear of God”—and that is not “being AFRAID of God”. The fear of God is the healthiest emotion we can ever have! It brings us to a place of understanding of how great God is and how we depend on Him.
Ed. Note: This note is part of a “Drop A Question” series. The information presented in this note represented the views of the author as at the time of publishing it. The author reserves the rights to update or alter his opinions to reflect any change in information. The author also welcomes contributions from the readers via the comment section. To drop a question that you will like to see featured in this series, click here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1txptRj7NMSdxxb0RW4fprNYm0Up9OnZi0dcA81erXg0&authuser=0