Sunday, 15 December 2019

I trust in people as most are decent

YOU might be glad to learn that we clergy are helped and encouraged to examine our souls, so that we can be aware of our strengths and weaknesses. After all, we are in positions of trust.

In a recent profiling exercise, it was shown to me that I am particularly given to trusting others, which is nice, but of course we live in an age when a lot of sneaky people use new technologies to abuse our trust, so we must beware.

I recently had two experiences that have made me a bit more wary.

First, I wanted to apply for a new European Health Insurance Card as my old one was long out of date so, I searched for that term and came up with a list of places to click.

I soon found myself entering all my details into a very familiar-looking layout of boxes, having checked that the top bar on my search engine showed a padlock symbol and https — the signs of a secure

Now I don’t suppose I’m the only radio listener or television viewer, who is sick and tired of hearing things to do with Brexit but with that and increasing domestic costs, I was more resigned than concerned to find, at the end of my application, that I now had to pay a fee of £27.50. Plus ça change…

So I fetched a card and did the deed. Only when I logged off did I notice that, amid the sites out of sight, the official government site for free EHIC applications.

To quote another bear of very little brain, bother and blow.

The second was one that I put down to tiredness, when a very trustworthy local person’s name appeared in my email inbox, offering a link to something I would want to see.

I found myself looking at a red-top newspaper page with an article on bitcoin. It had not been her. Bother and blow again.

I immediately logged off but my suspicion is that someone would already have sent a mass of spam or, worse was using my account — unless, of course, they simply wanted me to read about bitcoin…

I ran a scan of my computer and it came back all clear but this certainly fits with what Saint Paul wrote: that we should be “as shrewd as serpents, and as innocent as doves”.

The Bible is full of warnings against people who cheat, lie and steal and Jesus himself was firm in exposing the two-faced Pharisees and Sadducees but I think I’d like to suggest a new woe to follow the Beatitudes:

Woe to you hackers and scammers, for you shall get found out.

In the meantime, I shall look twice before clicking and give thanks for my internet protection.

I still think it’s right to be trusting because most people are decent and good.

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