For a variety of reasons, I despise social media. Namely, I despise its ability to evoke the worst in humanity. It doesn’t take much for me to bite the bait, as it were, and when it comes to social media, the bait is especially alluring. An uncalled-for comment feels less impactful when posted virtually rather than spoken verbally. The format itself emboldens us to say just what we’d say if we were bold enough to say it in “real” life.
For the Christian, the temptation is to stand up for Christ. It is for me, anyway. So, my voice joins the multitude as I debate, debate, debate. I close the computer screen or close out of the app feeling disgruntled. Too many times my anger, whether selfish or righteous, fuels my desire to have that one comment that silences the rest.
Proverbs says that Wisdom stands in the public square calling those who will listen to follow her life-giving ways (Proverbs 1:20-33). I imagine the public square is clogged with fools doing the same thing, only their voices are loud, clanging cymbals demanding attention, hellbent on being right.
I imagine social media when I envision that public square, and I picture Wisdom as someone refreshingly set apart. Her approach is not at all like the fool’s approach. She is under the direction of the Holy Spirit. She does not cloister herself and avoid the public square; she’s right smack dab in the middle of it! But the way she calls out to anyone who will listen is rather an invitation (a wake up call, but an invitation nonetheless) than a demand for attention. The way she persuades is born of confidence, and not the byproduct of sheer fear. She does not seek to convince you that she is right. She is right.
This is how I imagine Stephen’s debate skills. He is a man confident in his message. He knows the Holy Spirit does not need a defender but rather a voice willing to speak in wisdom per his divine direction.
As a singular voice in today’s overcrowded public square, I’d much rather emulate Stephen.