Weekly Lay Devotion 01-13-21

Lay Devotion with Kim Wu

It’s hard sometimes to be nice on social media. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to let our emotions get the best of us.

A number of years ago I landed on two verses in Proverbs and was struck by their truth and applicability to the way we should interact with others today, especially online. “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.” (Proverbs 26:4-5)

I know. It’s confusing at first, as these two verses seem to contradict each other. Do I answer or not? But here’s where wisdom comes into play: understanding when and how to apply each of these two truths.

I read a New York Times article (“What if Instead of Calling People Out, We Called Them In?" by Jessica Bennett) earlier this week that sheds some light on this. Professor Loretta J. Ross from Smith College teaches her students about calling in versus calling out.

We all know about the practice of calling someone out, and it’s usually about shaming someone publicly for doing or saying something. That’s easy enough to do these days on social media.

Calling in, on the other hand, is about having a respectful conversation outside of the public eye. Professor Ross says “calling in is a call out done with love… Calling in involves conversation, compassion, and context.”

In the article, Professor Ross shared that the Rev C.T. Vivian, field general for Martin Luther King, told her years ago, “When you ask people to give up hate, you have to be there for them when they do.” For Professor Ross, the practice of calling someone in means “you always keep a seat at the table for them”.

Speaking in love, keeping a seat at the table for someone. That sounds familiar. Jesus modeled this for us. The table is offered to everyone, not just those we like or those we agree with. Not those we decide are worthy of a seat. As followers of Jesus, we are to be invitational people, people who call others in.

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