Chain Letters

One thought baffles me now and then. Why do some people fall for chain letters? 

There are basically three categories of chain letters that I get via email or Facebook.

1. From strangers: Get-rich quick pyramid schemes
2. From people who do not share my faith: Exploitation of superstition (threatens recipient with bad luck that can end in death)
3. From friends: Emotionally manipulative messages (breaking the chain means you do not care or love the sender) that comes with a prayer for the receiver

I have no problem with Nos. 1 and 2. I trash them with no ifs, buts, or maybes. Spam! 

But I pause on No. 3.

Why would a friend give a deadline or condition on friendship and blessings?

I got one such letter again and the veiled threat was, "If you do not forward this letter back to me, then you do not consider me your close friend." And the promise of sending it back is, "Something good will happen to you in nine days." 

For me, a couple of things are simplified—or worse, compromised—in such a letter.

One, friendship is being put to a test. If you do not do what it says, you are suspect. Relationship is reduced to one simple act of "sending back." Past encounters or long-term bond that established closeness do not count.

Two, blessings are mocked, giving God a deadline. In my faith, all blessings come from God, and only He can give deadlines or a timeline on when He bestows them.

Are we so immersed in the things of this digital world that we no longer think deeply about what we post or send out? Have we trivialized everything, including friendship and blessings?

Or, are those who send these scheming chain letters really friends? Do they even believe that blessings can come anytime—before or beyond nine days?

I was going to facetiously end this post with, “Please forward this to 15 friends.” But by grace, good sense prevails. Let me end with, chain letters be trashed!

"This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:12-13)


Vie Velasco said...

It takes guts to write on this topic. Thank you for being courageous!

Grace D. Chong said...

After posting this blog, I got another chain letter--also from a friend. Sigh. Thanks for the encouragement, Vie!