Everyday. EVERY SINGLE DAY someone says something or posts something on social media that is inflammatory. Maybe they were just posting their opinion or maybe they had every intention of starting an online fight. This is the world we live in.
Everyday. EVERY SINGLE DAY articles, reports, magazines, broadcasts, and late night hosts ridicule and demean basic moral values. In doing so they belittle those that try to live by those values and criminalize those that publicly promote those values.
We live in an age when you cannot speak a negative opinion of any lifestyle choice without being accused of hate, bigotry, being prudish, intolerant, and ignorant. This seems to be true unless you are speaking negatively against those who claim to be conservative Christian. These people are free game.
Everyday. EVERY SINGLE DAY there are statements made about conservative Christians that are prejudicial. Individuals and other groups level charges and accusations that presume to know what every Christian thinks, votes, and does. Because I am a Caucasian, a conservative Christian, born in the Southern United States, raised in the South, living in the South, heterosexual, monogamous, long-term married to my first wife (only wife), with one child, living in a small city near a southern university, preaching for a conservative church, middle-class, registered Republican male, I am free game. I belong to just about every group that society allows others to ridicule.
(Did I mention my wife is a public school teacher? That makes her a target of society. Did I mention that my son is studying to enter law enforcement? Another hated group of people.)
Maybe I am only looking from my point of view. Maybe from where you sit, you see the stones coming at you. A truth of today is that there are a lot of stones flying through the air from every direction. With all these stones flying in our direction, what is our response? Should we ignore them? Should we throw them back?
I want to pick up in the story of Stephen in Acts 7. He has just delivered a message that reminds the Jews of their past and their actions against the prophets and against Jesus of Nazareth. Stephen does not say anything that is not already on record, but they did not like what he was saying.
“Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:54-60)
When Stephen accused them of acting in error, they became angry and stoned him to death. When they were stoning him, Stephen chose to intercede for their forgiveness. Who took the high road? Who became the better person?
What do you and I do when people are throwing stones at us? What should we do?
Will I be like Stephen?