Over the weekend an e-mail came in from someone I know who wanted to pass along an "inspirational story" along the lines of "Chicken Soup for the Soul". As soon as I read the story I knew it was false. In fact, a little quick research confirmed my suspicion that the story was not true.
These types of stories are often found circulating in e-mail circles. Other such stories are alarmist pieces about the latest drug recall or some other health risk that was previously unknown. Sometimes it's a rumor about some great get-rich scheme or some nefarious scheme a major corporation is involved in.
These messages attempt to convey a nugget of truth but at their heart are usually false. The fact that such messages circulate on the internet is not surprising. What's most surprising is the number of Christians I see perpetuating such falsehoods by sending these e-mails to friends and relatives without first checking the authenticity of the story.
As Christians, we should be careful about what we say and make sure that we are presenting the truth. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:37: "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."
The next time a story comes in your e-mail inbox that seems too good to be true, take the time to check it out before forwarding it on. Snopes and Truth or Fiction are both great reference sites for tracking urban legends.