This reminds me of the time that my daughter received a “horror” chain email. She was so worried about not following the instructions posted in it. So I wrote her this note. I apologize for it’s length but I believe it is also applicable with any social network system. I hope this helps some of you . . . :o
"NEVER BELIEVE THESE THINGS! Even the “good ones”.
The people who make these chain letters want to feel that they can control what people do by FEAR. They try to make you believe in what they write. They take advantage of people who easily believe in things, people are very superstitious, people with weak faith in themselves and with God.
For the people who write the scary ones, they want to make a story that people can believe it can really happen. Then they add requirements in the end (“send this to X number of people or else . . .”). So, because we do not want the scary thing to happen to us, we do what the email requires us to do. Then we spread the email (with the fear attached to it) to others (many times our close friends [because we have their email addresses], our family members and our acquantances).
For those people who make the “good ones” (these are the ones which ask you to pray for good luck, pray to Mother Mary, pray to a saint, etc), the purpose (although many times has a good result in getting people to pray more often), also have the intent of spreading something but use force by scaring people at the end of message. If they were really trying to inspire people, the email author would not attach a scary story at the end saying how if a person did not send out the email something bad would happen or that they should feel guilty if they do not. The email author would allow the reader to decide whether or not to send it by themselves without a threat of something bad happening to the reader. If the email is truly inspiring, the reader would send it to their friends ON THEIR OWN.
Also, to send out the good ones “for good luck” is superstition. God does not want us to believe that our lives are controlled by “good” or “bad luck”. WE choose (either by actively doing something or actively neglecting to do something) what happens to us. If something bad happens to us, maybe we neglected to do something. If we trip and fall after a black cat crosses our path, it was probably because we were so worried about the “bad luck” that we NEGLECTED to watch where we were going.
There are also others which talk about friendship that when we send it out to others and receive it back, it proves that we have many friends.*
If you have TRUE friends, you do not need an email to show that. What they do to you (help you, are there when you cry or need to be defended against others, eat with you, etc) is proof enough. You can use the emails to show your friendship if you want to. But never get forced to sending it to prove to yourself that you have friends. True friends do not need to be forced to do something for you. They will do it anyway BY THEMSELVES.
For me, when I receive a chain email that is inspiring or talks about friendship, I DO send it to other people and probably to more than what is asked for in the email. BUT I REMOVE THE SCARY PART forcing the reader to send the email to others. I let the readers decide whether to keep it to themselves (probably it did not touch their hearts enough or the message was not meant for them) or to send it to others (because possibly God touched their hearts while they read the email and He inspired them to send it) but WITHOUT the need to meet a specific number of friends to send it to.
For the scary and threatening kind of chain email, I immediately delete it, say a prayer to God for protection (asking the Holy Spirit to send angels to protect me), pray again asking our Lord to forgive the email author and everyone who got scared into sending the email to others, and pray again for others readers to stop spreading the fear. Our Lord ALWAYS hears our prayers to Him. He especially listens to prayers from children.
We should always try to stop these emails from spreading. We should try to stop spreading the fear and guilt from going to our friends, our family and those people we know. God knows that there is more than enough things that everyone is afraid of as we all go through our daily lives. And everyone carries his or her own guilt in their lives that some of us fall into despair and stop believing in ourselves because of the weight of that guilt on us. Adding to the fear and guilt is both uncharitable and wrong. We don’t like it if our family and friends play with our fears and guilt. Why should we do that to others?
Always remember, our Father the Almighty God, His Son our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit love you. God LOVES YOU. HE LOVES ALL OF US.
He does not want you to live in fear. Nor does He want you to spread fear to everyone you know. Whatever happens in your life, good or “bad”, is in His control. And no matter what happens or what we do, WE CANNOT CHANGE HIS LOVE FOR US. Always remember that.
Our Lord will always protect you. He loves you so much more than I or anyone else can ever do. And remember – He can do anything and will be everywhere. So you do not have to be afraid.
In His Service,