The Union Recorder

October 2, 2013

COLUMN: My rose-colored glasses got cracked

Dr. Jay Hodges
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — When the phone rings somewhat early in the morning and wakes me up, I usually assume it is not good news. It was going to be a day when I got lots of phone calls and emails from friends who were concerned about me.

I got hacked on my computer! Someone got my email username and password and sent an email to all my contacts telling them I had been in the Philippines and gotten robbed and would they please send me some money so I could get back home. Those who checked the return address realized it was not mine, and I hope no one sent any money. I've never been to the Philippines and no one robbed me.

I made the necessary changes and now I am secure again. The truth is, though, I was the one who readily gave my username and password to the scam artists. I got an email that said I had a notification from Yahoo, my email server, so I opened it up. When it called for my username and password, I filled it in like I usually do for Yahoo, and up came a blank page instead of a notification.

While I did not think much of it at the time, I realized later that I had made a big mistake. I thanked all those who notified me of the problem, feeling good that there were so many who cared about my well-being. But I also thought, “Look how easy it is to make such a mistake.” Everything looked official on my page, and I was trusting of the process.

A few months ago I got a phone call from someone saying, “I am calling from the offices of Microsoft,” and they led me through some computer steps and got information I should not have given out. I had that fixed, too. My friend who fixed my computer said, “Microsoft would never call you, so never give that information out to anyone again.”

A problem with being so naïve and trusting is that you can get taken advantage of very easily. I am naïve and trusting for the most part. I like to believe the best about people, and I want to believe that people mean good with all they say and do. I believe it ought to be that way.

Somewhere along the way, for some people, they came to believe that there was nothing wrong with taking advantage of naïve and trusting people, that blind trust was a weakness to be exploited. Some people came to believe that, if you can take advantage of someone, well, they shouldn't have been so stupid. Can you imagine the kind of world this would become if everyone thought that way?

Actually, I prefer to remain naïve and trusting. I am learning as I go along that there are some boundaries I need to establish with my naïveté and trust and I am not so sorry about that. But I have to guard against becoming cynical and untrusting; that would lead to loneliness and isolation.

I believe Jesus was naïve and trusting of most people. I believe he really wanted the Pharisees to take their vast knowledge of the Law and Prophets and come to use it to have a relationship with God, which would push them to help the poor and marginalized instead of being so judgmental of them. I really believe he wanted the rich to be aware of ways they could help the poor and needy instead of being so insecure that they amassed far more than they needed for themselves.

The truth is that there are people in the world who will hurt you and not give a thought to what they have done. They believe it is their right to do whatever they feel like they need to do to get by in the world without giving any thought to the damage they may do. The world has those people in it, and I am sorry about that. But I will not allow them to corrupt my soul. Someone has to believe the best about others. If we don't, people will live down to our low expectations, and the world will never be a better place. Just be careful — you could get hacked, too!

Dr. Jay Hodges can be reached at .