Another chain email comes around saying something like, “This is a test. God is love. Send this to 10 people if you love God, and something good will happen to you tomorrow. Don’t break the chain, or else you’re denying God. Share to make sure you get a blessing tomorrow!” These deceitful chain posts cleverly take a truth and wrap it in lies. Below, are ten godly reasons to break the chain post you just received:
1. Chain letters are a burden, requiring immediate action. These lies burden us. “Share if you care!” This saying subtly insinuates that you don’t care if you ignore the post. Unfortunately, many good people believe they must participate in these chains, which are “innocent” sayings in disguise. Chain posts form spiritual chains of anxiety, guilt, fear, and self-condemnation. How do we handle these? There’s good news; we don’t have to do anything at all. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28 New International Version).
2. Chain posts twist the truth, which includes distorting scripture. One particular chain post claims that people who break it are denying God. “But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in Heaven (Matt. 10:33 New Living Translation). We are NOT denying God by ignoring a chain post; sending it won’t save us. Being a child of God is a commitment of the heart. “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 NIV). No one can take our salvation from us. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28 English Standard Version).
3. Chain posts manipulate the reader by inviting guilt, fear, anxiety, self-condemnation, and rejection. These are all evil spirits. Guilt may visit when one doesn’t copy, paste, and send the “sweet” chain message. The pressure’s on when the message says, “If I’m one of your best friends, I hope this comes back to me!” Fear of rejection can creep in for refusing to join a game that supports a cause being promoted. Selecting ten “greatest moms” may cause anxiety. Who will be left out? Do we even want to be in a position to judge? Some people may feel jealous about the titles given to others. Flattery, pride, and jealousy are evil spirits. They build upon each other, forming anger and bitterness. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice” (Jas. 3:16 NIV).
4. Chain posts plague us with negative emotions, but God gently convicts with the Holy Spirit. If you are a child of God, you have the power of the Holy Spirit. You can renounce guilt, fear, anxiety, and more, in the name of Jesus. You can rejoice in the fact that these negative emotions do not come from God! God doesn’t make us feel bad to get us to do a job for Him. If you feel bad about not sharing a chain post, it’s not from God. The devil is the one who harasses us. If God wants our involvement in advancing His kingdom, He will place the desire in our hearts. If we make a mistake, and miss an opportunity, he will gently convict us, and lead us on the right path. “He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Ps. 23:3 ESV).
5. Chain posts create a false sense of friendship. Our real friends are not trying to hurt us. They have good intentions, and most likely just want to brighten our day. But because chain posts are based on lies, they add no value to our friendships. The messages are targeted toward a large audience, with the expectation to act quickly. Real friends are there for each other during hard times. Chains posts have nothing to do with friendship. Real friendships consider your unique individuality, and they take time to cultivate. There is conversation and interaction with each other, with heartfelt notes, phone calls, and time out for coffee. Chain posts distract us from the true friendships that God provides for us. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born to help in time of need” (Prov. 17:17 NLT).
6. Chain posts require you to “prove” something. “If you love Jesus, and if you’re not afraid, you will pass it on.” Even if this is all the chain post says, it subtly insinuates that you feel the opposite, if you ignore it. Some people feel frustrated at having “something else to do,” but share the posts to relieve guilt and anxiety. Self-condemnation may nag in their ears, telling them they are weak for not being a voice for Jesus. Fear tells people their prayers won’t be answered. It is fear that makes people believe they will be punished for not sharing a chain post to prove their love for God. Lies are the devil’s hired hands. Jesus sets us free from man-made rules requiring us to prove love, friendship, and loyalty. “But Peter and the other apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than human beings’ ” (Acts 5:29 NIV)!
7. Chain letters are rooted in sin, and they shackle the participants in lies.
A chain post is an empty promise filled with false hope that something good will happen, if the “good luck rose” is shared. We can’t control our destiny with “luck.” When we need help in our lives, we need to pray. Only God can change our circumstances, and He is the giver of all good gifts. Chains predicting “bad luck” are even worse. The lies sprout seeds of fear, and lead people further from truth. In Deuteronomy, chapter 18, God tells Moses not to let his people practice fortune telling, which He says is detestable. It is in the same category as witchcraft and interpreting omens. Chain mails are a form of fortune telling. They predict the future. “I will put an end to all witchcraft, and there will be no more fortunetellers” (Micah 5:12 NLT). People naively share chain posts, without realizing that God hates fortune telling. In addition, chains are usually shared without recognizing the source from which they originate. Spiritual messages can be connected to sites, which lead people away from the truth of Christianity.
8. Breaking chains brings us relief from fear. The most evil chains threaten harm, if the chain is broken. They contain words about God’s love, and then suggest people are siding with the devil if they ignore the chain. This is a lie meant to cause fear, but we are safe as God’s children. “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’ ” (Rom. 8:15 NIV). God will not abandon us for ignoring a chain post. “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fear for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below– indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39 NLT)
9. Chain letters steal our time. Our time is better spent praying for others, reading the bible, and fellowshipping with friends and family. We should feel free to share wisdom, truth, scripture, and prayer requests. Be wary of manipulative posts that require you to act, in order to avoid a consequence or to prove a point: “90% of people don’t care enough to send this on. Let’s find out who really does!” Guilt just hitched a ride! Manipulation knows you want to be considered a caring person. Guilt knows you will feel like a jerk, if you’re one of the 10% that “don’t care.” We don’t have to participate in chains and challenges to prove that we care about a cause. God doesn’t care about “likes” and “shares.” He cares about our hearts. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts” (Ps. 139:23 NIV).
10. Breaking chains is the only way to freedom. The jailer can open the door, and tell us we can go, but if we are still in chains, we aren’t going anywhere. When storm clouds bring chains that try to bind us, there is a silver lining. With Jesus, we can break free, by standing in God’s truth. It is such a relief to be free from emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental chains that bind us. How sweet to know we can show our love for Jesus, without being required to do things that man demands of us. Jesus died for our sins. He came to bring forgiveness and release us from our burdens and chains. “For God will break the chains that bind his people” (Isa. 9:4. NLT)…
In order to be forgiven and receive eternal life, God only requires that we accept His son, Jesus Christ, who was sacrificed on the cross for our sins. Nothing else can save us or change the course of our lives. We need to acknowledge that we are sinners, and ask God to forgive us. Then we walk on God’s path. We no longer walk in chains. We walk in freedom, and we grow closer to Him!
“He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.” (Psalm 107:14 NIV)
| © 2015 Nicholas Pelleman