Quite recently, I got caught, really caught. I was sent, by e-mail, details of a virus that, if not eliminated, would cause havoc on my computer. It was suggested that I eliminate this virus and forward the message on to my address book. When I followed the instructions, the “offending” virus was there and I duly eliminated it. I also let scores of other people know about this potential problem. However, after all of this effort, a few people who understand computers far better than I, advised that it was a hoax! I then went through the same procedure again, this time advising all those whom I had written to originally, that it was a hoax. I had to re-install the feature that I had erroneously removed as it was necessary in some of the programs that I use. For that exercise I had to enlist help! By this time, others were writing to me because I was in their address book and the whole exercise kept going round and round for a few days. I must have spent at least half a day on this hoax which was a complete and utter waste of my time. I felt also guilty that I had wasted the time of so many others, albeit trying to be of service to them.
It got me to thinking about the lessons we can learn from such an exercise.
(1) First of all, I learnt that if I receive another such, no doubt well-meaning virus warning, I will check with those who understand these problems far better than I, and I will check with web-sites that contain up-to-date information on viruses.
(2) It didn’t take me more than an instant to realize that when destruction, chaos, lying and time-wasting are involved, we can usually look in one specific direction and we shouldn’t be surprised that the problems created all emanate from the same source. Of course, human beings are used, but the basic modus operandi simply doesn’t change from the originating being.
Passing on viruses and details about viruses can create chaos. Scripture tells us that originally, there was no chaos when the heavens and the earth were created. As we have understood for decades, through the influence of Satan, the earth became waste and empty. Satan brought to this earth chaos and confusion. We know that God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). Wherever chaos and confusion reigns, Satan is in the thick of it.
(3) Creating and intentionally passing on viruses is destructive. God is the Creator and Sustainer of positive and good things. Wherever Satan is involved, destruction follows. Satan knows that we have the potential to become members of the God Family. He will do everything he can to prevent us from attaining that wonderful position. If he can destroy us he will, but with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, we can out-maneuver the adversary. Satan caused Job many problems, but he was only allowed to go so far. We have to be on our toes to avoid his destructive attacks on us.
(4) A hoax is a lie. Who is the father of lies? John 8:44 gives us the answer from the lips of Jesus Christ. The ninth commandment tells us not to bear false witness (not to lie). A hoax is a deliberate attempt to deceive. That is not God’s way, but it originates and emanates from the evil one.
(5) Both a virus and a hoax are time wasters. If Satan can side-track us, he will. He will attempt to keep us so busy with those matters that we can become deluded into thinking that we have little or no time for the spiritually essential areas. When we have to deal with a virus or a hoax, it results in a negative and a complete waste of time. Oh, how Satan loves to waste our time.
If God was the center of everyone’s life, viruses and hoaxes would simply not exist. Everyone would have first and foremost the best interests of others in their minds, and they would never dream of doing anything to harm others. They would practice the golden rule of doing to others as they themselves would like to be dealt with (Luke 6:31). They would be esteeming others better than themselves (Philippians 2:3). They would be service orientated, serving others in a Godly way. That is exactly the opposite way to Satan’s approach. We should thank God daily that Satan can only do to us what God specifically allows, and that in the Kingdom of God, our adversary, with his destructive attributes, will have been crushed under our feet (Romans 16:20).