- Faith & Family
Everyone has pulled a playful or even malicious prank on someone at some point in life before. As I recall the days of my personal involvement with light-spirited deviltry, it was highly amusing for me and my childhood friends to make three-way telephone calls to people who did not know they were being hoodwinked into participating in a triangular conversation, then skillfully maneuvered like a guide dog leading the blind towards revealing information that would have otherwise remained undisclosed.
With two conspirators already on the telephone, one would click over, dial a number and then click back over as soon as the ringing began so that a third party could be connected to the line. Once the call was answered, the added party would think that they were conversing privately with the caller, not knowing that the presence of another person on the line was cloaked in silence, quietly listening to every word being said.
After a few moments of chitchatting, the caller would artfully steer the conversation to a topic that was sure to elicit a response from the third party,which would only be given in strict confidence, perhaps a declarative that would unmask a well-kept secret. The silent listener would react to the third parties confessional-like response with either a low snickering laugh, loud burst of laughter or simply continue to remain as quiet as a mouse, as to not ruin the possibility of overhearing more divulgement. A flabbergasting disclosure would, however, make it extremely difficult to stifle a funny interjection, emerging from out of the darkness with an exclamatory “aha-I-gotcha.” Knee-jerk remark would be too irresistible to suppress.
Sometimes, the confessor could sense that they were being subjected to a conspiracy, that another party was eavesdropping like the feds listening in on a wiretap long before baring their soul to the caller. Warning bells would caution them, an admonishing voice from somewhere inside of their own head would exhort against saying anything they would later regret. More often that not, though, they would ignore their better mind, spill information into the trap, and thus make fools of themselves.
Although I can still be somewhat of a devilish prankster, I would like to think that I’ve grown into a fairly spiritual person, gifted in recognizing the analogy between almost anything and the supernatural. If I was a clergyman, I would preach about the parallel between man’s spiritual life and three-way telephone calls. The sermon would basically highlight how Satan is always calling upon us, pulling the wool over our eyes, confident that we will commit sinful acts at the slightest evocation, while God is sitting back quietly observing how the chief deceiver is constantly turning us into suckers everyday of our lives. The only difference between the two is that at the apex of all the deceitful games being played on the spirit of man — at the point when the flesh becomes weak — its very unlikely that the face of God is looking down with a smirk, much less finding humor in our inability to resist being drawn into sin. Fortunately, because the Creator is so merciful, instead of interjecting with a jeering remark, which can manifest in the form of some scornful act of affliction upon our lives, we can always rely on the power of forgiveness through humbled prayer whenever the Devil is successful at getting us to yield to immortality.
The good news that I would deliver is that, from a spiritual standpoint, we may goof up from time-to-time, but no trick that we fall for in life has to end in humiliating defeat.
By Arthur Lee Hall, Jr.