A few years ago I finally gave up and joined the texting band wagon. Ultimately it was the only way that I could consistently communicate with my teenagers. It is a mystery to me why they will spend 10 minutes in a text conversation with me, but won’t answer their cell phones for a 30 second conversation. (Insert eye roll and loud sigh here.) So, out of necessity, and now I will admit, expediency, I joined the texting band wagon.
I figured it would be easy. I can type at blazing fast speeds thanks to my high school typing teacher who strongly instilled in me proper hand placement over the home keys! (I will give you a minute to sit with the fact that I took TYPING, on a TYPEWRITER, in high school!) Sadly, I was completely wrong in my assumption that superb typing skills would equate to even adequate texting skills! Seriously ya’ll, let’s talk about this. Who in the blue blazes came up with the notion of typing with your thumbs? Your thumbs! My kids make it look like an art form. Their thumbs fairly fly across the phone screen, nimble and wicked fast, as if they were born with extra dexterity in their opposing digits. How do they do that? I, on the other hand, can barely eke out a coherent sentence in less than five minutes. My stout thumbs lumber from letter to letter, striking wrong keys as often as correct ones. It is PAIN-FUL-LY SLOW going and takes extreme concentration on my part. My kids say that it would be much quicker if I wouldn’t insist on using proper capitalization and punctuation, but surely they jest! Then, as if all of that isn’t frustrating enough, there is autocorrect! Why in the name of Pete does my phone INSIST on deciding for me what word it is I am trying to use? I have never, not once, wanted to ask my child if he had a “sand witch” for lunch! AUGH! Don’t distort the message!
About a year ago I thought I had found the answer to all of my texting problems when I discovered the talk to text feature. No more painstakingly pecking out what I wanted to say, and no more autocorrect…or so I thought. WRONG! My phone obviously does not understand the Southern dialect and my spoken message is never typed EXACTLY as I dictate it. On more than one occasion I have hurriedly hit send on my message before carefully reading over it, only to find that I have sent something that in NO WAY was what I had actually said. The message had been completely distorted! To my horror, one of these text fiascos actually happened with a text I was sending to my MOM!
Picture the scene…
I was in Hobby Lobby around Christmas time trying to decide on some decorations to use for my son’s upcoming wedding rehearsal dinner. I wanted to get my mom’s opinion on a specific wreath, so I took a picture of the wreath and sent it to her in a text. I then used the talk to text feature to add one simple question to my text message, “What do you think about the flocking on this wreath?” Well, let me be the first to tell you that your I-phone does NOT recognize the word flocking! Nope, it sure doesn’t. Instead, my phone, in all of its autocorrect wisdom, substituted another word that sort of “sounds like” flocking into my text. I didn’t even realize this had happened until I got my mom’s response, “The wreath is fine, but watch your mouth!” Huh? I scrambled to reread our text conversation and discovered the autocorrect error. I thought I would die right there in aisle eight! I had just sent my mom, my mom folks, a text with a very dirty word in it! I thought I may have to take myself to the bathroom and wash my own mouth out…but wait…that is NOT what I said! I said FLOCKING…FLOCKING! Once again, the exact word that I had intended to send was distorted, leaving the message completely inaccurate.
Unfortunately, I think sometimes we do this with God’s messages to us. God has very clearly sent us a powerful message, exemplified in his creation, clarified through scripture, and justified through the sinless life of his precious son. And yet WE feel the need to autocorrect these messages where we see fit; ultimately distorting the intended message.
This is a very dangerous thing. How can we possible share God’s love with others if we are distorting his messages to us? Do we really think that God needs for us to supply words, thoughts, or reasoning for him? What makes us think that we could, or should “autocorrect” his word with OUR ideas and thoughts?
His message has always been specifically clear:
I love you.
Live your life loving me first and foremost.
Love one another.
And yet, too many times people, in the name of religion, in the name of self-promotion, in the name of ego and pride, have used their own version of autocorrect to distort this most precious of messages.
I love you becomes
I love some of you more than others of you.
Love one another becomes
Only love people who look and think like you.
Love me above all others becomes
You can only love God, if you follow MY man-made prescription of religion.
I can just see God standing on the edge of heaven horrified, shaking his head vehemently; “That is NOT what I said!”
Darling friends, I am not normally one to come out swinging such a forceful club, but more and more I am witness to the specific distortion of the message of our Father in order to promote personal opinion and twisted ideology. This could easily become a ponderously long blog discussing every nuance of how Jesus was the very word of God in flesh; bringing a pristinely clear message of love and hope to all, and how that message is pervasively and continuously corroded with individual versions of autocorrect. Instead, I will just beg you to be careful. God’s message is clear, and we should be scrupulous not to distort his divine and life giving words.
If your relationship with your fellow man is not one of love, you have distorted the message. If you promote YOUR ideology over the clear and definitive teachings of Christ, you have distorted the message. If you are declaring God’s love is conditional and only for a select few, you are distorting the message.
The message is clear.
The message hung on a cross and gave his life to make sure that you could never misunderstand exactly what was being said:
I love you.
Love me above all others.
Love one another.
No need for autocorrect.
Don’t distort the message.