Slightly Obsessed #237: Social Media Stoning
by Pamela Thorson on 2019-10-31 09:32:21


Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger settles in the lap of a fool.
-Ecclesiastes 7:9

Mobs have always existed. But revenge was a simpler act to carry out in the days before computers. People just stoned the offenders. The wounds were physical; usually fatal. It was not supposed to be a quick death. There was an element of slow suffering inflicted as part of the punishment.

Today it’s a bit more complicated. An increasingly venomous method for a mob to draw blood from someone who has crossed a boundary online involves what my son calls a “social media stoning.” It invokes the hysteria of the Salem witch trials and the brutality of a lynching. These are the unspoken rules:

1. Take an offense.
Any offense will do. It doesn’t matter if the transgression is accidental or purposeful.

2. Give it a name.
Slap a toxic label on the offender, conferring upon him all the sin that goes with it, thereby rendering him guilty by supposed association.

3. “Out” the offender.
The more public, the better.

4. Take no prisoners.
In a social media stoning, the focus is on a swift take-down; to hear the satisfying thud of stone against flesh. The more vicious the attack, the better.

5. Go up to your house justified.
The prevailing view appears to be that there is nothing abusive about giving someone a beat-down for offending you, especially if you are in the right.

And yet, every one of these actions is diametrically opposed to the Word of God. To each of these, God says:

1. “Love…is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.”
-1 Corinthians 13:5

2. “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.’”
-Revelation 12:10

3. “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.”
-Matthew 18:15

4. "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
-Matthew 6:14

5. Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone….”
-John 8:7

In today's polarized atmosphere, it's easy to demonize others. It's much harder to exercise discipline and discernment on social media. May God give us the power to be slow to anger and full of grace toward those who speak in ignorance. We are called to praise
others in public and reprove them in private when it is possible. And especially, we should be spending our time in pursuits that honor our King.

If we don't, every day will become Halloween.

About Pamela Thorson:
Pamela Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. Her second book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver, released in 2014. She resides in the Northwest with her family.

Connect with Pamela Thorson:


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