I’m relatively new to the smartphone world, having used a basic phone for many years. When my son-in-law upgraded and offered the gift of his old phone, I determined the price was right and the opportunity good to try it out. He insisted it would change my life. It’s been fun to learn some new things I couldn’t do before.
Until last week.
I found myself at a traffic stop, so it was a good time to pull out the phone and start a voice text. A church member called earlier with a request and I’d not yet had time to respond. The light changed, and I laid the phone aside. However, the line of cars in front of me was backed up and I couldn’t proceed. The driver behind me tried to blow me out of his way, though he couldn’t go anywhere either. I made the “palms up” signal as a way of non-verbally asking, “What am I supposed to do?” But he continued to blow his horn. I muttered an accusatory noun under my breath. In a few seconds the line of cars moved and we were on our way.
Imagine my surprise a few minutes later when I picked up the phone to hit “send,” only to discover that at the end of my sweet note to our church member was the word “idiot.” I’m glad I didn’t send the message prematurely! I was also ashamed that the voice text picked up a word I shouldn’t have said.
I got to visit the Richard Nixon Library a few years ago. One interesting feature is the White House tape recording exhibit. Visitors can put on headphones and hear some of the actual recordings from Nixon’s presidency — the tapes that brought about the only presidential resignation in our history. Former Texas Gov. John Connelly urged Nixon to burn the tapes, but he didn’t, and they came back with vengeance after the Supreme Court ruled Nixon had to give them up.
Jesus said, “What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs” (Luke 12:3). God warns us in scripture to be careful of the words we say since they’re being divinely recorded for judgment.
It’s also true that we mustn’t be quick to condemn others. In responding as I did to a rude driver, I let him set the agenda for my response. I lowered myself to his level.
I guess the smartphone has, indeed, begun to change my life. Last week I prayed, “Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3).
Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster. The church's website is siluriabaptist.com.