When you look through your junk email, there are a few things you might come across… spam emails from stores, email notifications from Facebook, and of course… scammers. Earlier today, I was looking through my junk email and found one of those emails. Now, I have to admit… it wasn’t from a “Nigerian Prince,” but it was the same kind of email. It said:
Cordial greeting message from Ella, I am seeking for your help, I will be very glad if you do assist me to relocate a sum of (US$4 Million Dollars) into your Bank account in your country for the benefit of both of us. I want to use this money for investment. I will give you more details as you reply.
Now, upon coming across this email, I did what any mature and sensible 21-year-old woman would do. I took a screenshot, sent it to my best friend, and started telling her about how annoyed and angry it made me. How could people do that – try to steal from gullible and innocent people? I hate that! These scammers are THE WORST.
As I was stewing in my anger, I thought of the tax collectors in biblical times… you know, those people who would cheat others out of their money and keep much of it for themselves? Sounds a lot like the situation I came across in my email today, huh? It’s crazy, even 2000 years later people are still committing the same sin, just with a different approach.
How did Jesus treat those tax collectors? He sat with them. He loved on them. He told them that God loves them… and many followed Him. I mean, look at Matthew and Zacchaeus. What a transformation God did in their lives, right?
And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. – Mark 2:15
GotQuestions.com states it very well, by saying:
“Jesus taught that we should love our enemies. To emphasize the point, He said, ‘If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?’ (Matthew 5:46). The word ‘even’ is significant. Jesus was telling the crowd they needed to rise above the level of publican behavior. If our love is only reciprocal, then we’re no better than a tax collector! Such a comparison must have left its mark on Jesus’ hearers… The Pharisees saw tax collectors as enemies to be shunned. Jesus saw them as the spiritually sick to be healed. The Pharisees could offer nothing to the tax collectors except a list of rules. Jesus offered forgiveness of sins and the hope of a new life. No wonder the publicans liked to spend time with Jesus (Luke 15:1). And tax collectors like Matthew and Zacchaeus were transformed by the gospel and followed the Lord.”
Talk about convicting. I was telling my best friend that if I could respond to that email scammer, “I’d surely give them a piece of my mind.” Jesus responded in the exact opposite way… and it’s obvious which way is better. I am choosing to follow the instruction found in Matthew 5:44 and Luke 6:28. Instead of cursing these people, I will pray for them – specifically, I will pray they come to a place of repentance and come to know Jesus as their Savior. I’m just thankful that the Lord doesn’t give up on me even when my first response is the wrong response.
Erin Culleny serves as a Marketing Assistant and Staff Writer. She loves encouraging women through her Victory Calls and finds such joy in praying for her sisters in Christ. Her favorite activities include reading her Bible, encouraging others with scripture, buying new dresses, and eating at the Cheesecake Factory… In that order!