Due to the 99% chance that you are engaging in criminal activity (theft), we have no desire to do business with you. However, I do desire that God bless you. If you are indeed, as I suspect, a thief and a liar, please, give up your wickedness. Jesus will take away your bad heart and give you a new, good heart if you will allow Him. Please read a Bible and find Jesus before it is too late. All thieves and liars will go to hell. (Revelation 21:8). I don’t want that to happen to you.I've had a few of them write back, admitting that they are fraudsters and describing a bit of the genuine hardships of living in Nigeria.
Today though, I actually had one call me on the phone!
I'd received this email on Thursday (and replied the same day):
From: Toner Needed [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 25, 2010 8:13 PM
Subject: Attention Purchasing - Joseph Taylor
Kindly advise if you could supply us the items mentioned below.
1.HP CC530A Black Toner (OEM)......5 pcs
2. Usb drives 4gB Memory capacity.....50 pcs
3. Packaging/masking tape...1.1/2 x 60 YRDS..........500 rolls
1012 West Beverly Blvd., Unit 990
Montebello, CA 90640
This email has a number of marks of fraud. (If you don't see them, it's because you've not had the joy of running an ecommerce site for very long! For more on recognizing scam emails, you can check out sites like ScamDex.com.) Amazingly that didn't stop the author from calling me and expressing his anger that I had "falsely" accused him of being a scammer. Even more surprisingly, he spoke perfect English without an accent!
After his call, I checked him out more thoroughly and found even more evidence that he is indeed a scammer.
Which raises the question: how could a thief be so brazen? No, I'm not using this as a lead-in to a conversation about politicians. Actually I want to talk about your heart and my heart!
When I talk with someone like "Joseph" my first reaction is to think, "Oh, what a terrible person. I'm glad I'm not like him!" But is that really true? What is the real difference between Joseph's heart and mine? He steals. I have stolen. He lies. I have lied. He pretends to be something he's not. I've been a hypocrite too. He's hurting people. I've hurt people too. The only remaining reason why Joseph seems worse than us is because he refused to admit his guilt when confronted with the truth. But is confession after confrontation necessarily a virtue? Admission of guilt can be a face-saving technique rather than a sign of genuine repentance.
So the only difference between Joseph's heart and Daniel's heart is that Jesus has captured mine, and is washing it clean with His blood, giving me new desires, desires to love God and love my neighbor. Lord Jesus, please do this in Joseph's heart too!