I rely on my phone a bit too much. It’s my personal assistant, reminding me of appointments I’m prone to forget and birthdays I don’t want to miss. My phone gives me access to the latest news and weather updates- however unpleasant at times. It lifts my spirits. Songs I waited hours to hear on the radio, photos of my family and favorite spots in Brooklyn are a thumb tap or two away.
My phone makes communicating easy and efficient. I can text everything. Information- on my way- have entire conversations. I can check my work email and gmail and share a moment with friends via Instagram. Occasionally I’ll even talk to someone, the old fashioned way; but I refuse to face time.
A child whose family had moved came to visit his former Sunday School class a few weeks ago. Every other boy focused on retaining his popularity in the classroom. Bad jokes were made and the laughter was louder than usual. Goldfish crackers and Lego pieces were “accidentally” thrown.
I started the lesson about temptation with a question: “What are you sometimes tempted to do even though you know you shouldn’t?” Not an easy answer to share but a number of hands went up. A number of children were willing to reveal themselves, to take a risk, to trust that their audience would be kind.
The first child cautiously admitted that she wanted to be a couch potato, to watch movies and read all day long. A clever, honest answer. Well, some of the boys thought that was just too funny. As their laughter took over the room, the child’s tears took over her face.
But they weren’t looking at her face, they were looking at each other for approval. When they did look at her face, when they saw her trembling lips and eyes, they were horrified. Their intentions had not been bad, but the outcome was.
It’s easy to forget the power of our words and the fragility of others. We need to be reminded that those close to us need to be cared for, need love. “If we love one another, God lives in us. God’s love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:12)
While I will never agree to face time on my phone, I will remember to do face time in life.