“Cancel culture is a social attitude that facilitates the unanimous agreement amongst multiple people that somebody is worthy of hate and slander due to controversial behaviors they have engaged in. Things like using racial or homophobic slurs, saying the n-word, and even offensive videos or tweets by you from several years in the past could lead to your cancellation.” This was taken from the scholarly website, Urban Dictionary. Hah, it’s not scholarly whatsoever, but I do think this is a painfully accurate definition.
I touched on this in my last post but as the Black Lives Matter movement continues to ride on its momentum, as I skim the news and see disgusting new sexual allegations arise, and I look to YouTube and see drama within the beauty community, I see cancel culture everywhere. I see tweets upon tweets that are dug up years ago and exposed to the world. I see a world without grace and without forgiveness. My heart hurts as I see people get canceled left and right.
Let me clear, there are consequences to our actions. There are consequences for our sins. Should we face those consequences? Absolutely. I am not suggesting we become a culture that bypasses every wrongdoing. Yes, we face consequences, especially those that go against the law. The problem I have with cancel culture is the unwillingly to forgive and the unwillingly to extend grace. Christian, we’re called to believe in all things. Don’t underestimate the power of redemption. Colossians 1:14 says, “In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Truthfully, maybe I am just spoiled. I’ve grown up learning about the grace of God, the love of God, and the character of God. I mess up all the time yet He forgives me constantly. I, of course, face the consequences for my wrong actions, but I am still forgiven, still loved, and still extended grace. Am I spoiled because I’ve grown up with a loving God? Maybe. Maybe it’s unfair to expect the world to see one another the way that God sees us. How can I expect society to love like Jesus when it doesn’t even know Jesus? I can’t.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, 5 made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Ephesians 2:4-5
My arrogance and ignorance get me in trouble. I have said and done some stupid things, even within the last year. And guess what, give me another year and I’ll have a whole book of the stupid things I did and said in 2020. I have gone back and forth with some of my morals and beliefs. I have made some inconsiderate jokes and comments. I’ve changed my mind politically way too many times within the last five years. It’s not necessarily because I was purposefully going with or against the majority, it’s just I’m an arrogant and ignorant person that is trying her best to learn how to be a better human. In retrospect, I absolutely appreciate those who have challenged my opinions and have called me out lovingly. I see the things I’ve thought, said, and done and it makes me grateful to know I’m just simply another non-famous person on this earth. I am so lucky for that, truly. I am lucky to be surrounded by people who have been around for some of my worst opinions and yet have chosen to not “cancel” me.
I see people getting canceled left and right and it just breaks my heart. I can relate to their ignorance. I can relate to saying stupid things that I regret now. I can relate to the mistakes I made even ten years ago. I can relate to a past that I was ashamed of. I see this and I don’t understand how I could ever promote and encourage cancel culture, especially as a Christ-follower. Maybe I’m just the odd one out because I’ve made at least two billion unintelligent statements, maybe not. Christian, can you imagine if the Apostle Paul was “canceled” to the extent that we “cancel” others? Better yet, can you imagine if we followed a God who “canceled” us? Oh, how I am beyond thankful for the unconditional love and grace of Jesus in a fickle society.
Here’s my suggestion. A suggestion coming from an imperfect person made worthy through Christ. I often look back and cringe over the things I’ve done, yet I am still fully loved and fully accepted in Christ. That’s your warning; here is my suggestion. Accountability is a good practice and we should hold true to it. We should lovingly call one another out. That’s biblical. People should face consequences for their actions, especially when it goes against the law. I agree that we should continue to have difficult conversations with those who have wronged us or wronged others. I agree that boundaries are important and loving. But I don’t agree that the goal should be to ostracize someone for their ignorant comments from five years ago or five days ago. I don’t think we should approach difficult people in a way that isn’t loving. That’s not who God called us to be. You don’t have to like them to love them. You don’t have to agree with their dumb mistakes to forgive them. They don’t even have to feel sorry for you to forgive them. We’re all made in the image of God, remember. We’re not called to love people the way they love us. We’re called to love people the way God loves them.
Consider the power of redemption and consider that people can learn from their mistakes. There’s a difference between being aware of the toxicity of people and turning the world against them. It’s us against sin. It’s not us against God’s other kids. How can we be a society that promotes love and celebrates growth but be so quick to judge and hate?
Christians, I’m being harder on you and on myself because we’re living in this world with a foundation set on Christ. Our society doesn’t know what it means to love. Our society doesn’t understand grace. Our society doesn’t understand forgiveness. We’re called to love God and love people, in that order. Christians, I’m being harder on us because we’re called to be like Christ. Ephesians 5:1 talks about being imitators of God. Jesus called people out. He spoke up and had difficult conversations, yet He did it lovingly. That’s the keyword: lovingly.
I leave you with one of the most famous passages in the Bible. I leave this for us so we can better understand what love is and how to navigate in a world that thrives on “cancel culture”.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I love that last verse. Believes all things, Christian, don’t overestimate the power of redemption. We hate the sin, absolutely, but we love the sinner. Thank you for taking the time to hear my thoughts.