Friday, December 2, 2011

Filtering Spam

Then he said, "Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it on account of the ten." (Genesis 18:32 NAS)

Stop Spam!Removing spam e-mails consume much of my time—a chore I dislike to do. Despite having an anti-spam filtering application installed, I still receive about one to two hundred spam e-mails every day. The filtering application can be trained to recognize various types of e-mails to move to a quarantine or junk folder, but the routine of doing that eventually overtook me, and I have given up trying. Receiving junk e-mails has now become part and parcel of life. These days, I would just take a quick glance into my e-mail Inbox, check for senders who are unfamiliar or subjects that do not interest me, and then multiple select them for trashing.

"Over the years, I’ve discovered many [anti-spam] methods that worked for a while, but never permanently," said Farhad Manjoo who wrote the article 'An Empty In-Box, or With Just a Few E-Mail Messages?' in The New York Times. "For a while, I set up elaborate filters meant to automatically categorize every incoming message according to who sent it ... But eventually every finely honed trick to tame my mail would collapse, and I’d backslide into a messy, undisciplined in-box."

After much experimentation with various experts' tips, Manjoo wrote that she has finally found several basic rules that can help reduce e-mail anxiety—the feeling of guilt for being late in responding to e-mail messages. The rules include turning off all auto-notifications that alert us to incoming mail, setting aside an hour or two to respond only to important messages, and moving all the rest to a separate folder.

Like me and Manjoo, many of us are not unfamiliar with spam e-mails. Time and again, we see them increasing because senders of such e-mails are constantly finding ways to outsmart e-mail recipients from filtering spam. We do whatever we can to eliminate them, but we may sometime reach a point we give up trying, pay little attention to them, or simply discard them. Ignoring things that bother us, such as spam e-mails, unfortunately does not help us solve the problem.

Suppose we have a ten dollar bill in a heap of counterfeits. Would we willingly let the bill be thrown away just because it is among counterfeits? Not unless we are unaware or have too much to spare! Similarly, the Bible mentioned a time before Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed, that Abraham asked God, "Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?" God’s answer was clear. He would spare and not destroy even on account of ten righteous (Genesis 18:23, 31-32). What do we think, if a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying (Matthew 18:12)?

Whether it is a ten dollar bill among counterfeits, or ten righteous people among the wicked, we should never 'trash' them or ignore them because of the overwhelming fakes or evil around. Just as we continue to read our e-mails amid the spam, we should also continue to focus our attention on saving the lost, even if only one of them has gone astray. Instead of being overwhelmed by too many things vying for our attention or feeling guilty for not responding fast enough, let us purposefully set aside time to attend to the more important and most needful first. As for the rest of the things that keep us from our main focus, let us move them to the attention of another for follow-up, prayer and intercession, or to our To Do list for later attention.

Dear Lord, forgive us for sometimes neglecting to pay attention to the needs of others at the right time. Help us set our priorities right Lord, that we will purposefully set aside time to minister and bless others, as well as snatch the yet unsaved from the wicked. Do not allow us to be overwhelmed by the things happening around us, so we may not backslide into undisciplined focus. Tame us as You will O God, that we may not collapse or fall, but stand firm and immovable in the faith all the days of our lives.

1 comment:

  1. I really like the application of spam to life that you developed here.



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