After a crazy week at the hospital, I checked my email and received a disturbing message. A concerned reader of Teachwithjoy told me that there is a blogger who is cutting and pasting from my articles and putting it on her site. This is different than sharing the articles or passing them around. She is using personal stories and reflections of mine and putting herself in them. Or, hacking up things I have written and using the insights as her own.

At first I was just shocked. Who does this? Especially from a site that is about a woman’s grace journey as a wife, mother, and homeschooler. It’s not like the content is that juicy! This is not about the life of a celebrity or famous person. It is not the kind of stuff that people would normally want to plagiarize. These are deeply personal reflections and stories about me and the people I love. These are spiritual lessons I have picked up along the way. They are meant to be shared and passed around in their integrative wholeness, in context, to bless others. But seeing them hacked up, butchered and stolen in this way is hurtful.

So this is what it feels like to be a victim of plagiarism. Ouch.

Admittedly the selfish and carnal me was offended on two fronts. First, any decent, educated person knows that this is plain unethical and inappropriate. Second, my thoughts were…Write about your own life instead of borrowing someone else’s. Don’t have a blog if you can’t do so. It makes you a thief, not a writer.

I did write the blogger to express my concern and sentiment about what she was doing (it was worded nicely) but I have not gotten a response. Hmm…maybe I was too nice? It doesn’t really matter at this point. If she has been doing this for a while, I doubt that a little note from me is going to bring about radical change. The reality is the digital world swarms with people who do this sort of thing. And by putting content on line I would be an ignorant fool to think that it was “safe” to do so. Of course this reality doesn’t make it less troubling.

Last night I told some of my family members about it just to get their perspective. One person was like, that’s kind of a compliment, right? (Umm…no. Violated was closer to how I felt.) Another one offered to spy on them, digitally speaking (also known as stalking them on social media.) Yet another suggested that I put her name out there and expose her publicly. Bingo! For an instant, this seemed like an attractive idea. But Edric cautioned me against doing so. Okay, okay. It would have been in bad taste if I did. It would be morally wrong, slanderous, to be more accurate. Furthermore, I don’t want to turn this site into an avenue for personal agenda.

I kind of let the whole thing go but this morning, my frustration mounted when, out of curiosity, I read another link that Ms. Concerned Reader sent to me. It was an article the blogger posted — a cut-up version of “The Rise of the Unloved Woman”. My agitation grew and I was tempted again to use my site to do an exposé. But the Holy Spirit stopped me.

What do you hope to gain? Isn’t this site supposed to be about God’s grace? Would that be an act of grace?

Of course not. It would be an act of ugly pride.

Here were some other questions the Lord prodded me to answer…
Why are you upset? Do you think you own the content on your site? Have I not given the insights to you and inspired you with the personal experiences to write? That content belongs to me, not to you. Furthermore, do I not know all things? I know what this person is doing. Why should you trouble yourself? I am better able to convict her to stop what she is doing. And if I don’t stop her what is that to you? Is it so bad that someone is copying your articles? Are you going to pick a fight over this and let it steal your joy?

Remember…”The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” (Exodus 14:14 NASB)

I had to acknowledge my selfish thinking and say sorry to the Lord. This blog may be personal but the spotlight is not supposed to be on me. This site is something I have dedicated to the Lord, to minister to others. It is supposed to highlight Jesus Christ. So if people pretend that the thoughts, ideas and stories here are theirs, well, it is a crime they can take up with God. He is the owner of everything I have written here.

It is easy to fall prey to the entitlement mentality. But the truth is I own nothing. Not even this site. God owns everything. He has the liberty to decide what ought to be done with the people, possessions, ministry, and gifts he has given me. A tell-tale sign that I am trying to take God’s place is when I become controlling, anxious, or upset when these things are “messed” with, or when circumstances don’t seem to favor what I want. Pride says, “Hey! That’s mine! Hands off!” It also says, “I deserve to be treated better. Don’t do this to me!” Or, “I deserve respect, recognition. I deserve more! Give me what is due me!”

When I was younger my mom read to me the Pineapple Story. It is a story about a missionary who loved pineapples. He had the locals plant them for him but they stole them when it was harvest time. Angered and frustrated because they kept stealing the pineapples, he began to lose his effectivity as a missionary. It wasn’t until he realized that the pineapples didn’t belong to him but to the Lord that he stopped getting angry. The locals noticed a remarkable difference in his personality and wondered what happened…why he wasn’t reacting to the stolen pineapples. He told them they were not stealing from him but from God. This convicted the locals and they repented and changed. But the real victory was this — the missionary began to bear fruit in his ministry because he was not consumed with self-centered thinking. He focused on what he was supposed to be doing — being a blessing and bringing Jesus Christ to the lost.

Similarly, I need to guard against the entitlement perspective in my own life which can side-swipe and cripple me from being used by God. If I am so preoccupied with fighting for my rights when they are trampled upon or taking up a defensive stance to protect what I believe to be mine then I lose the very purpose for which I exist — to lead others to Jesus Christ. When the entitlement mentality infects me, it becomes about me. But, it’s not about me, it’s all about Him.

I am actually thankful that this unpleasant discovery happened. Being a victim of plagiarism made me reevaluate why I write. Is to exalt myself or is it to exalt the Lord?

If it is to exalt the Lord then I need to keep focusing on the priorities God wants me to…growing in intimacy with him, loving my husband, kids, the ladies I disciple, and faithfully teaching my children so I can keep writing for his purposes and glory, plagiarized or not!


27 thoughts on “Plagiarized

  1. I am just glad the issue did anything but diminish your motivation to write. whew. 🙂 I look forward to reading each blog entry of yours. will pray that your “plagiarizer” encounters a realization soon. may God continue to bless you and your family!

    1. Thanks!:) yep that’s God’s problem. I am going to just relax and enjoy writing instead of worrying about it!

  2. Amen to that.. and I do admire your poise and patience in dealing with whatever you encounter… be it in teaching, disciplining, overcoming anger and hurt. I pray that you would continue to inspire us all. And most of all I pray that I can have even a half of your patience and poise in dealing with whatever challenge God has in store for me.

  3. We really do not know her reasons for plagiarizing your articles, but plagiarism is one of the risks bloggers face in this digital age. Everything can so easily be copied and pasted or saved as and photo edited and be posted on their sites to claim as their own. There’s this one newsbit about a UP Grad student who also plagiarized a photo to win a contest that’s been broadcasted for more than 4 days now. That’s how rampant plagiarism has become. But thank God because how you responded towards this situation shows how much of the Spirit’s fruit you bore and testifies of the Lord’s word in your life. You did send her a letter that you know. Let that speak to her. I believe God will use that to convict her, but if not, still the Lord’s purpose came to pass because of the insight you have gained yet again. 🙂 Keep on writing Joy! 🙂

  4. This is very humbling. Thanks again for the inspiring messages. Many times, I easily get angry and gather all my strength to “fight for what’s rightfully mine”, or tell people how they have abused what I have given to them (like money or my time or effort), or show the person who has offended me on how wrong they are or how evil is what they did. I have to admit, that in the process, I cause slander to those people who have offended me because I felt I have to let other people know about the wrong things they’ve done, and justify it as helping warn friends or family about them, etc. Reading all your reflection above feels like God talking to me and telling me that I wouldn’t have been so offended if I realized everything is owned by God and whatever people cheated me on, or repaid me evil for the “my” generosity, were all not mine in the first place. How self-centered and entitled am I?! I need a lot of work and prayers everyday. 🙁

    I agree, this blog of yours is really one of God’s avenue in talking to people. Thank you for making your blog clean of self-centered interests.

    1. Thanks for sharing Kristina, we are all prone to doing the same thing. It’s really God’s grace that keeps us from doing so. Whenever I feel deeply hurt by someone I remember what God has done for me, how much injustice my sin caused Christ on the cross. If he has forgive me, who a I not to forgive? It’s not always easy. But I find that what a person decides in the mind makes the heart follow in terms of feelings. My dad used to tell me motion before emotion. Act first and the feelings will follow. Forgive first and the feelings of forgiveness eventually come.

  5. I can understand why you’re not going after this person…(to be honest, I don’t think I would’ve responded the same way, so kudos to you on that). I’m just concerned if this person is using any of your children’s pictures…is she/he?

    A few years back, a female blogger exposed a bogus ‘blogger’ who used her son’s picture (taken from her blog) for her blog, depicting him to be ‘cancer-stricken’ and gathering a lot of sympathy from net surfers. As it turned out, the ‘bogus blogger’ was only a young, high school student who was experimenting on the internet.

    I know it’s a totally different case and I don’t want to alarm you, but perhaps you should double check on the photos she posts just to be sure. 🙂

    I like your blogs, Joy. I enjoy reading them and I am blessed and encouraged by what you share.

    1. Yikes! No..she wasn’t using the photos. Actually, in an amazing turn of events, we have actually been emailing each other since yesterday!!! She reached out to me and we are now “friends.” God is good. 🙂 She really apologised and even took her blog off the internet.

  6. Hi joy. This is my first time to post a comment here. I came to know about your site a couple of months ago (I think) when I was searching for an article written by Dr. Tanchi. To say that I’m so blessed to have found your blog would be an understatement. I’m not shy to say that I already admire you! hehe. Hearing from you through the email makes waiting for your next post so much more worth it. I was even inspired to start my own “blog-blog-an” because of you! While I have yet to learn a ton about blogging, you are the inspiration for this blog. Wala pa masyadong contents there pero I pray that I can share more about the Lord. “Napakaganda ng attitude mo” toward being a victim of plagiarism. Clearly the Lord is at work in your life. Thank you for continuously sharing your “creative and anointed wellsprings” with us. and please keep posting. We love you Joy. Psalm 20

    1. Thank you! What’s your real name? Praise God.Yes you should write. We need to populate the internet with stories about God’s goodness and love!

  7. ey Joy! this was quite different from the other blogs I’ve read here but then it gave me a different perspective of humility despite the injustice. This blogger, whoever she may be, may have the talent to cut and paste whatever you’ve written but she can Never have your beautiful children and such a wonderful, close to perfect husband you have in your life 🙂 Let God be the judge on this and continue on inspiring so much people through your blog 🙂 miss you guys! (Note: i have not been paid by the ‘on the Money’ guy to comment on your

    1. Hi Mel!!! How are your wedding plans?! I hope we can go…but a family of 7 is going to be a challenge. We shall see. I hope at least Edric can be there. I know he wants to go.

  8. Hi Joy! As I read your entry, I marvel at God’s work in your life. Imagine the timing of this! At the height of the plagiarism issue! God continues to use you to bring forth His message of truth, despite the injustice. Wow! God’s ways are truly way way higher than ours, right?

    1. The greatest injustice was what we did to Christ. If God forgave us, who are we not to forgive, right? I think of that when I’m tempted to get angry at people who do things that hurt me or those I love.

  9. Hi Joy! As always, thank you for sharing this insight. On the first few lines of your story about this so called plagiaried, I’m kinda upset as to ‘she would do that” but then thanks be to God who gave us His word ” yes the Lord indeed will fight for you while you keep silent…I was convicted.

    Continue writing God story…

  10. To God be the glory Joy. Your blog has been an inspiration to me. I always look forward to it when i check my mails. Your response to this lady who shamelessly copy your blog is indeed Christlike. May God continue to use your life stories to bless many women like me. May His name be glorified in all that you share. Aa for the lady let us pray for her salvation.

    1. Thanks Ruth, God also gave me an opportunity to connect with her just yesterday! I’m planning to write an update on this post…

  11. had been plagiarized before and it was really enraging, thank God for this entry Joy cuz I still keep on recalling that angry feeling i have…and thanks for reminding me bout the Pineapple Story (heard it from your dad) can’t stop laughing this time! 😀

    1. I guess blogging really comes with that risk. It’s normal but it hurts…But I have another story to write how God redeemed this whole thing. The blogger emailed me yesterday!

  12. Wow Joy I am so blessed to read how you dealt with this issue…more than the plagiarism, I am reminded also that we don’t own anything in this world. We are merely stewards of whatever God has placed in our hands!! Your blogs reflects so much of how intimate your relationship with Jesus is and I am praying that the person who is trying to copy your blogs will be able to come to know Jesus Christ also as her personal Lord and Savior – so then she will not need to copy your blogs because she will have her own version of how God will touch her life.

  13. Anyone who needs a lesson on Romans 8:28 ought to learn from this incident. I’m proud of you Joy, and I thank God for His protection over your heart. You have so wisely discerned exactly how God wants any one of His children to respond to the adversities that are bound to happen (John 16:33). You sought God’s will, you allowed Him to show you what He needed to transform in you, and you surrendered your ego and accepted God’s better plan for you. It IS true: “Happy are those who seek the Lord!” — Papa

  14. hello Joy. I love reading your blogs and sharing it with others (if you don’t mind?) I really admire your family and your relationship with GOD. Thank God that you overcome your entitlement mentality and realized that God owns everything and that we should glorify him in everything we do.

  15. Praise God for your attitude towards that person.
    Really moved by this post because I’m going through a somewhat similar situation. Not about being plagiarized but what you said about entitlement.

    “I am actually thankful that this unpleasant discovery happened. Being a victim of plagiarism made me reevaluate why I write. Is to exalt myself or is it to exalt the Lord?”

    What you said above really made me realize how I should look at every situation in my life. And I thank God that He allowed to have a 2-week vacation from work and have a 1 on 1 session with Him, and re-assess everything.
    You and your blog have blessed me and countless others (married or not). I pray that God would lead you to write more for His greater glory. Regards and God bless you & your family.

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