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Monday, February 6, 2012

Unhappy Consequences of Dialing 912

In the midst of our Super Bowl party yesterday, I received a phone call from the police department.  They asked me if I had dialed 911 and if I had an emergency.  Of course I hadn't called the police, but I had a sneaking suspicion that one of the dozen neighbor kids playing in our backyard had goofed around and dialed it on our outdoor phone.

I went outside and hollered, "Who dialed 911!?"  In unison all the boys said my youngest son's name.  I brought him into the house to discuss it.  His defense?  "I dialed 912!" which made all the adults burst out laughing.  We thought he must be trying to cover his tracks and stay out of trouble.

The policeman arrived shortly to confirm we truly had no emergency and I dragged my reluctant, tearful 9 year old to the front door to greet the law official and take the consequences.  The police officer was kind but firm as he explained that a helicopter, two police cars, and a fire engine were alerted to come to our house (which he canceled luckily).  When my son claimed to have dialed 912, the policeman told us that dialing anything close to 911 (even random numbers) can trigger a 911 response which sort of freaked me out and also validated his story about dialing 912.  My son manned up for the conversation and then went and hid in my room and cried for a while.  I told him to come out and play, but he just basked in his shame and self-pity for another twenty minutes and said, "I just know I'm gonna have nightmares about this whole thing!"

So being the analogy-type girl that I am, I started thinking about what we could learn from this experience (beside the obvious lesson of not messing around with the phone).  Several things came to mind, but I will share only one.

In life, we often try to push the limits.  We don't intentionally try to commit big sins or make huge mistakes, but we may dabble in the gray area either intentionally or without truly realizing it.  For instance, someone might commit to being honest in all their dealings but may tell little "white lies" to avoid uncomfortable situations or to prevent getting in trouble.  Or someone might have the goal of remaining a virgin until they get married but then fall into some immoral behaviors while dating that are not appropriate.  Or someone may say they don't want to get into a car accident but then they speed and think it is okay since they aren't getting a ticket.

This is like dialing 912.  We all know the result of dialing 911 and we are careful to avoid doing that but we really need to be even more vigilant and also avoid dialing 912 (or 913 or 914....).  Sin is sin and we need to steer clear of questionable behaviors and the gray zone because we may end up having a surprising and unwelcome consequence.

My 9 year old is once again happy and carefree with his tears dried and gone, but I will remember this 912 story for years to come.  I rededicate myself to being strong and valiant and avoiding the 912 experience that can easily slip into our lives if we become careless and complacent.

P.S.  He gave me permission to share his story on my blog but wouldn't allow me to use his name...


Anonymous said...

Your analogy does not make sense at all. How is dialling 912 similar to committing a sin??? It was just a simple mistake by a child. He did not know that he was not supposed to dial 912 - did anyone tell him that? You learnt from his mistake and his friends and we all learnt too about the consequence of dialling 912.

Pam said...

I just re-read my post and it is pretty clear to me. But I understand that everyone's mind works differently so maybe it just didn't make sense to you from your perspective. My son knew he wasn't supposed to play with the phone and/or dial 911. He was sneaking when he did this. Dialing 912 intentionally was pushing the limits and entering a gray zone and when you enter a gray zone, you are setting yourself up for trouble even if not intentionally.

Anonymous said...

I totally got your analogy and I love it! A useful lesson as well as a new perspective on "dipping your foot in" to sin. So often, especially with young Christians, the goal is to get as close as you possibly can to sinning without "crossing the line". We so easily forget that even by breaking our own consciences, that's sin! I will be reblogging this over on my blog, if you don't mind! :)

Anonymous said...

Lool, no.. He's going to burn.. This is a mortal sin against humanity for which there is no recompense...