I can’t count how many times a day I hear “if only I had more time” or “oh, I wish I had time to” or “or sorry . . . not now, I’m in a rush.” Amazingly enough, or not, most of these people constantly post messages on social networks urging us to “repost this if you . . . “ The same folks forward email which insists that if I don’t forward it within 5 minutes to everyone I know, something dreadful will happen to me but promise that if I do forward it, my wealth will increase immensely and my life will never be the same. “Act now – right after you read this!” Chain letters. That’s all these empty claims and false threats and unfulfilled promises amount to. I’m old enough to recall chain letters when they came in the mailbox and were written on paper. Same basic theory. They demanded that I write out lots of copies of the letter and send it to all my friends or my life and livelihood and those of my friends and family would be in danger. Same game as ever, now via electronic media. Some of these seek personal information, request money, etc. Please tell me you’re not that naive?
How many times have we said or heard someone else say any of the following:
- · I wish I had more time with my kids
- · I would love just a few minutes alone with my spouse
- · I could really use some quiet time
- · I wish I had time to read a good book
- · TV? I can’t even squeeze in time to watch the news!
- · Cook? No time – I’ll buy takeout
- · Daily prayer? I don’t have time for that!
- · I didn’t have time to make the bed
- · I’ll buy coffee on the way to work
The list could go on and on and many of the things on this list could easily be fit into our day if we carved out a 15 minute break to accomplish it. Yet so often that is considered impossible. However, how much time is spent reading those tiresome chain letters which we receive by email and through social media? How many have you received in the last hour? How often do you struggle to find 10 people to “forward this to” and hope you can find enough who don’t know you too well because you’re embarrassed to be doing this but can’t break the chain? Come on, you don’t have to tell me, but admit it to yourselves, won’t you?
Did you know that these chain letters (by any other name) can also be illegal? True! In the United States gambling is not legal everywhere and some of these chain letters are considered by the government to be gambling. Others are considered pyramid schemes, go against Post Office regulations, are considered fraud, or contain viruses which you spread to your friends’ computers when you forward them. They also go against regulations at many offices, schools, and colleges. As I view it, sending them gains us nothing and the potential loss is too great.
Some of my friends frown at me when they find out I delete these things, remove them from my “wall” on social networking sites, and rip them up when they come by the rare postal mail delivery. I am told “oh, but they’re fun” and recently lady from my church sent a get rich quick scheme chain letter because “you never know.” Sorry to disappoint anyone, but what I do know is that the time I could be wasting participating in these activities is better spent hugging someone I love, saying an extra prayer, reading an extra chapter or two in my book, or brewing a pot of coffee. Try it! You can find the time!