Tag Archives: Innocence

I Love You So Much…Alexa? Perfect gifts are from above!

So, by now, you’ve probably heard of the 6-year-old girl, Brooke Neitzel. She is the young lady who tried out her family’s new voice-activated system (“Alexa”) soon after Christmas. She had seen the commercials. It seemed easy. Ask Alexa, and Alexa does.

So Brooke had a conversation with Alexa. She told Alexa how much she loves dollhouses, and would Alexa please order her one…and some cookies. And guess what? A dollhouse and cookies showed up at the door. Magic!

Her parents were confused, to say the least. So they went back and looked at the transcript on their computer. Sure enough, young Brooke had asked Alexa for a dollhouse and cookies. And when Alexa told Brooke she would be happy to comply, Brooke said, “I love you so much.”

So Brooke’s parents put new controls on Alexa to make sure it wouldn’t happen again. They also spoke about the value of things, and donated the dollhouse to a charity. But Brooke got to keep the cookies.

The story is cute. It is also a good reminder to keep parental controls on the Internet and automated home systems. We all know that the story could have ended very differently. After all, the Internet is a dangerous place for kids without parental guidance.

Nevertheless, in the innocence of a child speaking to Alexa, I see a bit of the way God wants us to approach Him. No, God isn’t, as some prosperity preachers want you to believe, interested in giving everyone dollhouses and cookies. But He is the good gift giver (Matthew 7:11) who gives perfect gifts from above (James 1:17).

1 John 5:14-15 reminds us, “If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”

So consider this: Do we approach God with confidence? And when we see how blessed we are, do we remember to thank God, and tell Him we love Him? Surely, a 6 year-old teaches us a good lesson.

That Teddy Bear Stole Your Kid’s Identity! (…and when innocence suffers)

spying teddyTeddy…How Could You? You were a treasured member of the family! You eat, sleep, and play next to the kids all day long. But this time, you’ve gone too far, and you’ve got to go!

Actually, to be fair, Teddy is an inanimate object, incapable of doing harm to others. But, apparently, Teddy was hiding a little secret in all that techno-gizmo and gadgetry. Teddy’s interactive, web-accessible features were hack-able. And hackers did hack, as hackers will do.

The Teddy Bears in question are Fisher-Price’s Smart Toys, enabled with V-Tech chips. And due to a security breach, personal information loaded on the Teddy Bears, like, “names, birthdates, gender, language,” was accessed. Perhaps even more concerning, was the access to:

“alter the customer’s account; create, edit or delete children’s profiles; see if parents were using the toy’s accompanying mobile apps; and read other miscellaneous data, like what purchases the customer made, game scores and other items.”

Yikes! So basically, a toy…perhaps one of the oldest, and most innocuous household children’s toys, was used to infiltrate the home, invade privacy, and potentially wreak havoc on children and their families. Nice.

No one likes being hacked. And we don’t want our privacy invaded. But there is something especially sinister about violating the privacy of a child and using their beloved teddy bear to do it!

Why is it especially sinister? Because we inherently understand and value the innocence of children.

The Bible tells us that we are born pure and innocent:

  • God made man “upright” (Ecclesiastes 7:29) and in His image (Genesis 1:26, 1 Corinthians 11:7, James 3:9).
  • God fashions us in the womb (Job 31:15; Malachi 2:10).
  • God, who is sinless, gives us a perfect soul that will return to Him (Ecclesiastes 12:7).
  • Our goal is to become innocent and pure in faith, like little children (Matthew 18:3, 19:4).
  • We are born blameless until we sin & iniquity is found in us (Ezekiel 28:15).

So when we hear that a child’s toy has been used to steal information that might lead to identity theft, financial problems, and spiritual and emotional pain, we are righteously indignant. But let’s be sure to remember why we have such a visceral reaction. Godliness!

You see, even though sin is in the world, it really isn’t natural. It is an invention of mankind. As Deuteronomy 32:5-6 points out, sin corrupts and causes perverseness in those who choose it. It is utterly against our natural design (Romans 1:20,26,27, Jude 10). But time in this world dulls us to our true nature and many have chosen the perverseness of the world.

Jesus said, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble” (Luke 17:2).

I suppose, as long as blatant sin against innocent children still horrifies us, there is hope that people will recognize the error of their ways and repent. But there will come a time when sins against little children will be met with total indifference…and perhaps we are almost there.

Jesus tells us that destruction will come as it did in the days of Noah, with people largely unaware of just how sinful their land had become (Luke 17:26). Don’t be caught unaware! Heed the alarm. Renew the fight. Defend the innocent. Live for Him…according to your true nature, in Him, today.

Bad Parts vs Good Parts: Did Slender Man Make Them Do It?

slender man

Two days ago, a 13-year-old girl put on a white mask, waited for her mother to come home, and attacked her with a knife. The attack followed one from a week ago, when two 12-year-old girls lured one of their friends into the woods on a sleepover, stabbed her 19 times, and left her for dead in the bushes. Thankfully, the girl crawled to safety and survived. What was the reason for these unthinkable attacks? The “Slender Man” made them do it!

Slender Man (also known as Slenderman), is a relatively new, internet based version of the “Boogie Man.” But the “Boogie Man” was primarily a way to scare children into behaving at night, not an excuse for murder. This week’s 13 year old attacker was said to have been influenced by Slender Man, and last week’s 12-year-old attackers were hopeful to gain favor from Slender Man by murdering their friend.

Our initial reaction might be anger: “Why are 12-year-old girls visiting horror sites on the internet?” Perhaps we are simply heartbroken for these girls as well as for their victims. Certainly, their lives and their view of the world will forever be scarred by these incidents. But in seeking to understand, and in searching for answers, how should the Christian respond to these latest challenges to our sense of morality and values? Is there anything new to all of this? Or is it just, “the Devil made me do it!” all over again?

People have been shirking personal responsibility for thousands of years. In the days of the early church, James reminded his readers not to blame God or the devil for sin, but to take personal responsibility. When we become “carried away and enticed by [our] own lust,” and that lust “has conceived” and given birth to sin, that accomplished sin will lead to death (James 1:13-15).

What peaked my interest, though, was not the blame game aspect of this story, but how one of the girls said in her confession, “The bad part of me wanted her to die, the good part of me wanted her to live.” There was a battle going on in her between “good” and “bad” parts. And truth be told, the Christian must admit that a battle rages within each of us. The heart wrenching thing is to see it begin in those so young.

The Apostle Paul recognized this battle in Romans chapter 7:14-25. The crux of that argument is: “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.” His conclusion? “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” that Paul could be set free from the wretchedness of a life enslaved to sin.

We each have to deal with fleshly, sinful lusts and passions. Some days, sin seems to be our master. But we would do well to remember that we have been freed from the mastery of sin and have become willing bondservants to righteousness. We have a higher, spiritual purpose and an eternal soul worth protecting. Not God, not the devil, not the Boogie Man, nor the Slender Man…no one is responsible for my sin other than me. And I have the strength to rebuke sin through Jesus Christ who gives me strength to do all things (Philippians 4:13).

So, how should the Christian respond? Where will I direct the impressionable minds of my children? To Philippians 4:8. And I will remind them to view and concentrate on the things that are “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.” Avoid sin for as long as possible and whenever possible. Accept personal responsibility when you do sin. Embrace the grace and mercy of Christ. And pray for the safeguarding of innocence in our young people.