TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 NKJV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• If you’ve read My Grace-Full Life for any length of time, you know I tend to avoid anything that gets too political. Make no mistake — I have opinions. Far too many most days… but my goal is to write in a way that unites us, not use this blog as another vehicle to divide us. We have enough of those.
But today — I’m going to write about cancel culture. Gulp. A touchy topic.
I’m sure you already know what it means. Still, to make sure we’re all on the same page — Dictionary.com defines cancel culture this way: “the phenomenon or practice of publicly rejecting, boycotting, or ending support for particular people or groups because of their socially or morally unacceptable views or actions.”
Here are the problems with cancel culture:
- It makes judgments based on the world’s standards, not God’s.
- There is no room for forgiveness in cancel culture.
- Those who cower to it and ask for forgiveness are usually further ostracized.
- There is no grace in cancel culture.
- Cancel culture is divisive.
- Cancel culture is subjective to the shifting sands of public opinion, and there are no defined rules, so who can ever be safe from it?
Cancel culture is a dangerous phenomenon in our society for various reasons, and for us as Christians — it’s an especially dangerous area to get into. After all, we can’t model the love of Christ if we cancel everyone we dislike or disagree with. Speaking from very recent personal experience, the temptation is real. But Jesus didn’t die on the cross for some — He died for all so that all who believe can have eternal life.
To be clear — that doesn’t leave the door wide open for justice to escape. There are consequences to sin and moral absolutes (the biblical ones rooted in the 10 Commandments) that we must hold others responsible for… but that doesn’t mean we don’t allow the condemned to repent. It doesn’t mean that those who offend us aren’t ever allowed to experience the freedom of forgiveness.
Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 18:15-17. He taught us how to deal with people who do wrong. First, an open, honest, and direct one-on-one discussion… next, if that doesn’t work, a small group discussion… and, finally, if necessary, address things with the church—three opportunities for the offender to repent and make amends. If the offender refuses, then Jesus makes it clear that person should be removed from fellowship and (if applicable) positions of Christian leadership. But the door is always open for anyone who has a spirit of true repentance.
In the early church, Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner— not even to eat with such a person” (1 Corinthians 5:11). Without context, this may seem like “biblical cancel culture,” but when we get to 2 Corinthians 2:6-8, Paul wrote of this offender who ultimately repented, “This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.”
An important distinction: when the Bible speaks of offenders in these two instances — it is referring to believers… those who have professed faith in Jesus Christ. Those who believe but wander away are prodigals who have drifted from God’s will. But God’s mercy is like that of the prodigal’s father — always ready to celebrate a prodigal’s homecoming (Luke 15:11-31).
In short, cancel culture doesn’t have a place in the Christian life for several reasons:
- We do things God’s way, not the world’s (Isaiah 55:8-9; Romans 12:2). That means a Christian baker isn’t canceled for refusing to bake a cake that goes against his Christian values.
- Jesus told us to forgive one another as we are forgiven (Luke 17:3-4). That means holding grudges and bitterness isn’t an option for us.
- Those who ask for forgiveness should receive it (Matthew 18:21-35). If God can forgive us, we have to forgive others.
- Christianity without grace is like an Oreo without the cream filling… grace adds too much goodness to leave it out (Romans 11:6). It’s by grace we are saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9)!
- We are called to be one body but many parts (1 Corinthians 12:12). The body won’t function the same without all its members.
- We stand on the firm foundation of Christ’s authority through the Holy and inspired Word of God that is timeless and perfect (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 40:8). No matter how fickle the world, God’s Word will never be wrong or out of date.
Confession time: I think God put “cancel culture” on my heart for a definite reason. I’ve been angry at someone in my life and on the verge of canceling them. My trusted prayer partners know I’ve been trying to work out forgiveness about the situation, but in my anger, I forgot grace. This person has deeply hurt my husband, and while I maintain that we need a healthy distance from them, I realize I can’t respond as the world… though I really want to. God won’t let me. I told my husband this morning before he left for work that the Holy Spirit was convicting me through my writing this morning. And I’m praying for God to give me strength—and grace—to forgive.
Maybe you have a similar struggle. And if you don’t, don’t worry. You will. You won’t be left out of the club… not that anyone ever wants to join this club of hurt feelings. But the goal is to get out as soon as possible and toss bitterness in the trash on the way out.
Make you a deal… you pray for me, and I’ll pray for you.
Today, as you pray, thank God that despite our sinful nature, He didn’t cancel us. He made a way for us. Thank Him for the grace, mercy, and forgiveness He has given you. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you show the same grace and forgiveness to others. Ask Him to remind you of grace when you’re tempted to cancel.
SHARING ••• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Subscribe through my website to have My Grace-Full Life delivered to your email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the NKJV translation.