I Google’d Your Name

By Edwin Christiaan

Some time ago, a young woman we know, said that she felt some uneasiness about my wife and I, and therefore went and did a name search on Google to check us out. According to her, she found some very disturbing stories about us. These were allegations that supposedly had happened 15 years ago. Without asking us our opinion or explanation about what really happened in order to investigate the source of the stories, she believed the lies and quickly formed her own perception, causing her to pass judgment and condemn us, holding us responsible for false stories malicious placed on the internet for the purpose of discrediting, especially my name and person.

My wife and I were not surprised to receive her email telling us these things, because it wasn’t our first time losing relationships this way. It was somewhat of a relief, however, that this particular young woman at least had the decency to bring it to our attention. There have been other times where people just never said another word to us after they had done their Google search for our names. They ultimately just gave us the cold shoulder and walked away without wanting to have anything to do with us.

If they had taken the time to ask, discern, and then form their opinion, these precious relationships might never have broken.

Over the years, we have encountered several people whose names have been slandered unjustly or trashed on the internet by people who have been led by hatred and unforgiveness, wanting to take revenge or retaliate. Through my job as a marriage and relationship counselor, I have met couples over the years, who have been going through a breakup in their marriage, where one partner went on a rampage, spreading all sorts of false rumors about the spouse on the internet, using anybody they can get to sympathize with them, to help do the job of discrediting and destroying this person’s reputation for life. Imagine then being a person who is in the public eye, almost on a daily basis being gossiped and lied about in media.

This is a question to ponder for the next time the urge comes to form an opinion solely based on a Google search instead of using discernment in the Holy Spirit:

If Jesus Christ would have lived in this era of internet search engines, would we have believed him, or would we base our opinion on the bad things people were saying about him?

In the book of John some praised Jesus, and others like the religious leaders falsely accused him:

“There was a lot of discussion about him among the crowds. Some said, “He’s a wonderful man,” while others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud, deceiving the people.” But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders.” John 7:12-13 NLT

After Jesus exposed their true motives and intentions of wanting to kill him, the crowd replied calling Jesus demon possessed:

“The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?” John 7:20 NLT

In another passage, Jesus spoke about how the people slandered the prophet John the Baptist by saying:

“For John the Baptist didn’t drink wine and he often fasted, and you say, ‘He’s demon possessed.'” Luke 7:33-34 NLT

Furthermore, people said many other things about Jesus:

“‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of the worst sort of sinners!'” Luke 7:34-35 NLT

That is why Jesus said in Luke 6:26 NKJV:

“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets.”

In other words, it is seemingly not a good thing to be spoken well about by everybody. As Christians, we ought to be a threat to the kingdom of Satan, as we walk in obedience to God’s calling, which the Devil hates. In doing so, we can expect all sorts of attacks on our person and reputation:

“When the world hates you, remember it hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18-19 NLT

That also includes those who profess to be Christians and yet hate their brother and sister:

“If anyone says, “I am living in the light,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness.” 1. John 2:9-10 NLT

The only place where we will find true comfort and consolation is in Jesus Christ!

“God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted, too.” Matthew 5:11-12 NLT

In Conclusion

I remember once being invited to speak in a church. Before the service started the pastor took me aside and asked me the following question: “Have you been through a lot of persecution in your life my son?” I was perplexed and surprised by his question, but I humbly admitted: “Yes, I have!” Then he said: “Well-done son, I know. That’s the kind of people we need in this church. I am praying and looking for those who can speak out of a real life experience with Jesus Christ, just like Joseph, King David, and the apostle Paul who were all rejected, persecuted and hated.” 

This pastor, who had never met me before, had already sought God for me and therefore was able to discern whether I was for real or not. In other words, the Spirit of God told him that I was teaching and leading people to Jesus Christ only, giving God all the glory. My answer to his question apparently gave him the final confirmation that I was supposed to speak in his church. This pastor clearly did not resort to Google name search practices.

“So I want you to know how to discern what is truly from God: No one speaking by the Spirit of God can curse Jesus, and no one is able to say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” 1. Corinthians 12:2-3 NLT

“Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. This is the way to find out if they have the Spirit of God: If a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ became a human being, that person has the Spirit of God. If a prophet does not acknowledge Jesus, that person is not from God.” 1. John 4:1-3 NLT

Final Word

It can be very discouraging and painful to see your name being dragged through the mud on the internet. But our God who knows everything is also the one who causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. See Romans 8:28.

Yes, God has a purpose for everything, and He is the one who guides, leads, and protects us through the process.

“Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t be afraid and don’t worry. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But you must do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak evil against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!” 1. Peter 3:13-17 NLT

And for those who have the habit of basing their opinion and sanctimoniously judge people on hearsay from the internet, including those who use the internet to slander others, the Bible says the following:

“You may be saying, “What terrible people you have been talking about!” But you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Do you think that God will judge and condemn others for doing them and not judge you when you do them, too? Don’t you realize how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don’t you care? Can’t you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from your sin?” Romans 2:1-4 NLT

“Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them.” Matthew 7:1-2 NLT

Copyright©2008 Sophia & Edwin Christiaan