I received 1,000 spams yesterday. The day before, I received 1,000 spams. In the past month, I’ve gotten over 30,000 spams, some of them, seemingly, from me. You see, I own and manage several websites, so all the spam that’s randomly sent to these domains is forwarded to me. I’ve likely been the target of millions over the past couple of years, thankfully most of them identified by my anti-spam software before they reached my inbox.

I used to try to identify the sources of these spams by sleuthing around their DNS records and googling any contact information they had, but after a few run-ins with spam gangs, I’ve given up the fight and simply delete the noxious e-mails.

When I filter through my spams at the end of the day, to make sure a “real” email hasn’t gotten mixed in with the rubbish, I find myself at various states of discontent, ranging from angry indignation to mere annoyance.

Sometimes I have the sense to remember what I’ve learned about emotions during times like these. Carolyn McCulley, drawing from the work of Dr. David Powlison, wrote:

The circumstances of our lives simply reveal what’s taken root in our hearts. When pressed, we either ooze the fruit of the Spirit or the fruit of sin.

My being spammed either by chance or by vindictive spam gangs does not cause my sinful anger, but merely acts to bring it to the surface. The spams provide me a daily opportunity to see what’s going on in my heart. They show me that it can be a pretty dark place.

And that provokes me to turn from the computer monitor and turn to the Lord, asking forgiveness for the arrogant attitude that “I don’t deserve to be inconvenienced by this,” and for help in dealing with the anger that too easily rises to the surface at the first sight of “VkAGRA” or “Finest Watch Replica.”

I’m further reminded of something I learned from C.J. Mahaney — that I should consider that I’m truly doing better than I deserve, even while being inundated by unwelcome emails. Consider this blog entry of his:

What am I? Well, here is what I am. I am the worst sinner I know. And by the grace of God I am doing better than I deserve. For I deserve the righteous wrath of God because of my sin. I deserve to be punished eternally. But in the mystery of His mercy, God sacrificed and crushed His Son on the Cross — as my substitute — so that I might be forgiven of my sin and know God as my Father rather than my Judge. What am I? I am truly amazed by the grace of God. That’s what I am.

May what the spammers mean for evil be turned around and used by God for good. May their spams provide a helpful view into my heart, and may I be reminded that though I deserve much worse than mere spam, I’m the recipient of the amazing grace of God.

From the BoundlessLine blog.
Copyright 2006, Focus on the Family.
Used by permission.

Ted Slater
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