Age of the Internet: The New Form of Public Shaming

For people living in glass houses we sure love to throw our stones.  I've been there.  I've shattered the walls of my own dwelling, now I stand surrounded by its perimeter.

The internet makes it too easy.  We throw clicks around like boulders hoping to make a fatal blow to the head.  We can do it in the blink of an eye and most importantly, we can do it in private.  We can make a fatal strike and then walk away to resume our own private habits that would sting the world were it to ever see.

And why do we do it?  So we can sit up in our lofty places?

Throwing stones.  It becomes less about a true moral stance and more about a position of status.

"If I can just show the world who I am against, then the world will see that I am good."

Isn't that what the Pharisees wanted when they brought the adulterer to trial?  It's recorded in the Gospel of John:  they had this woman cowering in the dirt like a dog, frantically searching the ground for even the smallest puddle of grace to lick up.  Not only would these men seek to strip her of her life but they would seek to strip her of her dignity by surrounding her with the eyes of many, a public shaming.

Who would give her that sip of grace? 

It was a Man that came along.  He would build her a well so deep and wide that she wouldn't merely quench her thirst but she would be saturated in the rich hydration of compassion.  Grace upon grace. The Man would build this well by the cost of His own blood.  By dying a slow and painful death, stripped of dignity before the eyes of many.

He took her place.  

What if the world doesn't need to see that you are good?  What if the world just needs to see that Christ is good and that you are simply bent on carrying around His light like a lamp in the dark?  Dear reader, the world doesn't see Christ when you post articles and memes or conjure up a handful of characters to form an angry opinion.  It reeks of public shaming, it reeks of anger and false virtue but it doesn't show Christ.

I think back to anytime I have clicked that share button while seeing red.  I am regretful that with each click, I skipped out on grace because the reality is that every person connected with some article on the internet is living and breathing.  Did you catch that?  Living and breathing, with the same amount of human condition as me.  Just because they are invisible behind a screen doesn't mean that they will never feel the weight of our blows.

Listen, I will be the first one to say it:  Stand for something and hold people accountable but do it in your own personal life without dragging them to the public square.  When we are able to look others in the eyes we are more prone to give grace, we see them flesh and bone and compassion wells up.  Its outside of the virtual space where we can have real conversations that ignite both reconciliation and change.

Remember, always, before you resort to making public blows the grace that has been washed over you by the color crimson.  And may you be so moved by the wonder of it that you extend grace to others in haste.

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