Using our devices when we can’t be there in person

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In Psalm 26 (ESV) the Psalmist sang about sinners having “evil devices” in their hands. He certainly was not referring to the electronic devices of our time, but most of us would probably agree that computers, cellphones, iPads, and even radio and TV can be used for evil purposes. Of course, there is nothing inherently malevolent about the devices themselves, but what they are used to communicate can be absolutely vile and disgusting.

The misuse of social media has indeed added to the divisiveness that is so prominent in the culture of the 21st century, and those electronic devices are necessary to spread the word through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Obviously the evil which lurks in the hearts and minds of those who tweet or post the abundance of maliciousness that travels through cyberspace is the real root of the problem. Whether the tweeter is a powerful politician or a person of limited intelligence – or both – the message can create chaos and cause irreparable damage.

The media of printed and spoken word have always been powerful tools, or weapons, but the technology available today has become like an atomic bomb in comparison.

Having preached that little sermon, let me take us back to an earlier statement. There is nothing inherently malevolent about the devices themselves. The equipment can be used for good or bad, depending on whose hand the device is in and what is in their heart.

Pictures or videos of my stinking cute grandchildren could serve as an example of a stellar use of the latest electronic gadgets. Throughout this eternity of pandemic separation, we have been able to see our grands through Instagram, Marco Polo, and just plain old-fashioned texting and email. I am so thankful for this positive use of these tools that are too often used for evil purposes.

Recently, we received a video of Anderson playing around on the old upright piano the Playl’s Jr. inherited from my mother. The 7-year-old was impressive as he created melodies, tickling the old ivories, not just banging on the keys. At the time, he had yet to take his first piano lesson.

Then there were the pictures of Grayson in his football helmet. The 9-year-old has been excited about playing tackle football for years, and finally it is about to happen. As my son explained it to me, the coach encouraged the boys to wear their helmets – a lot – just to get used to the feel of them. With great enthusiasm, Grayson has even tried to eat with his helmet on. Trips to Wilson County for football games and piano recitals this fall will be so much fun!

While separated by distance and disease, videos, Facetime, and just pictures help to fill the gap. Still, whether it’s watching the Nash kids snow ski or Katie Grace perform on stage or the Playl boys doing their thing, there is no substitute for being there.

Paul didn’t have social media, text messaging, cell phone, or even the U.S. Postal Service, but he sent letters. They took forever to get there. He told Timothy he could hardly wait to see him.

Nahnee and I can call, text, or send a message through some other almost instantaneous means. It’s not the same as being there, and I can hardly wait to see each of them and hear them sing, talk or play. In the meantime, if you see me, I’ll be happy to share pictures on my phone of some of the cutest grandchildren in the world.  

Steve Playl - playlsr@yahoo,com       

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