After many years of fighting spam (junk email) reaching my inbox, I thought I finally had it licked.
I had fine-tuned my filters to exclude every possible permutation of Viagra (to the point where I no longer get anything that refers to Niagara Falls or even vinegar). I no longer received solicitations for pills, creams or ointments; no get-rich-quick schemes, no mortgage come-ons, no thinly disguised links to porn sites.
That was when the latest attack started.
It seemed innocent at first. Just an occasional email with a subject line of "R3P3NT!" or "JOHN 3:16" with the letter 'O' and the one carefully replaced with a zero and the letter 'I.'
Curious, I began to read some of them.
"Dear Sir," one began. "I am the son of a very wealthy father. He has bequeathed to me untold riches that I am holding for you. There is no catch. But my father has not heard from you in a very long time and is concerned you will not take advantage of this offer! Please contact Him immediately and make sure you tell Him I sent you! Best Regards. JC"
Laughing, I hit the delete button on that one. What a scam! Did they really think I would fall for that?
Then there was the one from some kind of online singles group.
"Beloved," it said. "I know you've been Instant Messaging other lovers and I am pretty upset! However, you are still my bride and I will wait for you until you are ready to come to me of your own accord."
I laughed again. How ridiculous! I hadn't been to one of those chat sites in years. And I am happily married, thank you very much!
Then there was the "UNBELIEVABLE ONE-TIME SALE EVENT" from an online bookseller.
"Get your copy of 'Salvation' today for FREE," this email chortled. "All we ask is that you encourage your friends to take advantage of this FREE offer as well. We'll even throw in the sequel, 'Sanctification' as a bonus gift!"
Over the next few days, the barrage continued. As quickly as I would add a spammer to my filtering software, another would worm its way through my defenses.
"TREMENDOUS SAVINGS" was in the subject line more often than I could count. Then there were offers to buy condos at the "City on the Hill." And an electronics company kept trying to sell me the "Light of the World."
Clap on, clap off, I thought to myself without humor.
"Come to the waters!" cried a beachfront condo ad. "Free fire insurance!" boasted another.
A home improvement center got through my spam filters with the simple edict: "REPAINT!"
Delete. Delete. Delete. My finger was getting tired.
"I don't need this," I kept telling myself. "These messages are meant for somebody else."
Grimly, I redoubled my efforts to filter them out.
Then lightning struck, literally.
My computer bleeped twice, the screen flashed and my room went dark. As I stumbled around looking for a light switch, there came a knock on my door.
A young man was standing on my doorstep, holding a brochure of some kind. He smiled, a bit uncertainly, and something like scales fell from my eyes.
"Do you know Jesus?" he asked.
"I'm not sure I do," I replied. "But apparently He has my email address."
I started reading the pamphlet and began to understand just how well Jesus really knew me. Then I must have been getting groggy, because I saw this Bible passage that couldn't really be in Scripture. I'll just leave it open and read it again tomorrow. It's John 1:29.
"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The spam of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
Maybe it's just a weird translation.
But it worked for me.
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