"Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
It's somewhat fortunate Fig Tree Christian is a digital audience. We all have thicker hides here. We necessarily have to. Anyone who doesn't just gets beaten down by callous and heartless words. It's culture. It's everywhere. Don't believe me? My son was playing Little Big Planet and someone had made a level called, Kill Justin Bieber. The whole point was to kill images of Justin Bieber in cruel and unusual ways. I made him stop the level.
He asked me why.
I said, "What if the game was, Kill Mommy? Would you still want to play it?"
"No!," he quickly responded. "That's mean!"
"Well," I explained, "Justin Bieber is a real person, with real feelings. Don't you think he would be upset by this?"
"Justin Bieber is real?"
The whole conversation crystallized how disconnected we really are. We can't see the humanity beyond the war cry. It's all fun and games, unless you are the person on the other side of the screen. If you want to know why I don't spend my time bashing Piper, Driscoll, Aronofsky, Beck, or whatever name is popular to smash right now, it's because the proverbial face approving of our desire to quell unpopular voices is not the righteous Paul, but the misguided Saul.
Acts 7 shakes me to my core. It's the truth beyond the silver lining of call. It's not all sunshine and roses for God's shepherds. They are stoned, crucified, burned at the stake (adding Joan of Arc to the mix). Accepting a call has no real promise for a long and lasting life on earth. Following a call doesn't mean everyone is going to think you are the bell of the ball.
While the internet isn't literally slinging stones, we are hitting people with words, and words can sometimes terribly hurt. I just want to leave you with a thought: What side are you on? And, what side our you taking? Maybe you are not the one writing and railing against someone, but are you supporting someone else who is? Does that make us any better?
While you might be scoffing at my words, calling me foolish for comparing internet slander to actual stoning, keep this in mind: When Stephen first said his mind the crowd first turned to slander his speech. It was only after slander, the story really turned dark. Sometimes, if humanity has the right Saul nodding in approval, we are capable of much worse than being internet bullies. It all starts with slander. Which side are you on? Acts tells us which side God's on. The second we start throwing stones, proverbial or otherwise, whether they speak truth or otherwise, God is on the side of the person being stoned.
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