Everyday there is a new cancel culture offense, it seems. Last week we heard on the news about Teen Vogue Editor Alexi McCammond. The week before we heard about people offended by Dr Seuss books! The news is constantly reporting another cancellation of another person or company due to their position on a political view, someone they support or what someone did wrong.
The Vogue Offense
Alexi wrote some inappropriate tweets 10 years ago when she was a young and ignorant 17 year old girl. Vogue employees couldn’t forgive her teen indiscretions and created such a condemning environment that Alexi was forced to resign. She wrote some anti-Asian and homophobic tweets. I haven’t read the tweets, but I can imagine that as a teenager, she said some foolish things. Many of us have. I’m sure she never realized the consequences she could face someday in her career when she was young and naive.
Unfortunately, we are now subject to condemnation for anything we have ever said or posted. After all, it’s all out on social media forever; even if we have matured and changed our views. I wonder if her new boss ever considered what this would mean for Alexi and the long term career effects. What would happen if someone looked back at our history to interrogate our mistakes? And what does an average teenager realize that they are saying or writing. What difference would this make? Perhaps they could have given her a work penalty, but an entire career damaged with this company? I think that this is unreasonable.
The Wacky Offense
Another recent offense came from Dr. Seuss. This condemning cancel culture has now canceled six of his books. He is not even alive anymore! So many children read his books in their early education and really loved them. I know I sure did! I believe that anyone can find offense in anything if they really look hard enough. Some of the pictures in his books did include people with chopsticks (Asians) and had their eyes slanted. I don’t know that anyone really meant to offend people, especially children. They could have only been descriptive with what some people look like and how they eat, not to offend anyone. Truthfully, I was very disappointed to hear this.
The Next Great Offense
Waiting, watching, we anticipate the next great offense whether real or perceived all because a minority of our society wears feelings on sleeves with little to no self-reflection that could clue them into what it would be like if their offenses weren’t the accepted views of the day. I find that this is so much what is happening with cancel culture. Instead of truly taking time and realize that not everyone is out to attack us personally, so many are ready to be defensive and attack. I also see a huge lack of balance occurring right now. People are cancelling Dr. Seuss, pulling his books out of libraries and book stores while they continue allowing perverted artists and songs to keep on putting their songs on the radio, and ready to listen to by anyone, including children!
Help and Stop So Much Offense
Our culture would not be so toxic if we would do 3 things! Let’s practice:
- Forgiveness and Grace instead of Hate
- Unity instead of Division
- Balance – Make what is acceptable okay, and what is truly evil, take away!
A Practical Biblical Example
The Bible addressed this directly where Jesus took a very different approach. Scripture shares a story where the Cancel Culture of the day brought before Jesus an adulterous woman who was caught in the act with the intent for her to be canceled. John chapter 8 captures Jesus’ response to the mob waiting to see Jesus condemn her: “Whoever of you who has not sinned may cast the first stone”
The Pharisees and teachers of the law wanted to see Jesus condemn the woman and largely for political reasons. The Pharisees often tried to trick Jesus and see what He would say about certain situations so they could position themselves for more power. Their intent was to control the thinking of the people and the canceled woman would have just been a pawn in their power struggle. Jesus’ response didn’t play their game but instead gave her freedom through forgiveness. They all got up and walked away, one by one because not a one of them was without offense just as none of us are. Jesus then told the woman to “Go and sin no more.”
Look At Our Own Offenses
Sin is not acceptable, yet many of us as sinners, are unwilling to show grace and forgiveness. Some people refuse to look at their own life and realize that they too have done wrong and at one time or another have likely offended someone. They don’t asked themselves; “what if I weren’t forgiven? ” or “What if I lost my job?” To be clear, I’m not saying that people should not consider what another person does and what consequence should be experienced. It does mean though that if there is wrong done, people should not be in too big a hurry to dump something on another without regard if the consequence is appropriate or not. We are all broken human beings and none of us are the judge to condemn a life, a career, a generation.
The True Great Offense
The Great Offense is that we offend God with our sin. He created man and woman for a relationship with Him and He placed Adam and Eve in a perfect place. He told them that they could do all but one thing in the Garden of Eden and that was not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent (Satan) came along and deceived Eve, then Eve gave Adam the fruit and they ate it. From that point on, mankind was broken and that brokenness was passed from generation to generation so that all of us were made offensive. There have been consequences and lack of fellowship with God when mankind sins, because of our nature now.
The difference with God is that He doesn’t cancel us, He redeems us. We can allow God to cancel our sin by what He did through sending His son Jesus to earth and dying for our sin. Through believing and accepting His complete work on the cross, being buried and rising again on the third day, we can be forgiven! We don’t have to continue living with this guilt and condemnation (Romans 8:1). It’s not by canceling each other, but by recognizing our own brokenness that we can have this freedom. Can we please now forgive each other? Can we follow God’s example and forgive other people’s wrongs instead of canceling or ostracizing them, being toxic and refusing to live in division? Can we find balance in our lives and praise good and refuse evil?
With Easter coming in two weeks and Cancel Culture so popular right now; we need to celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for the freedom He offers us instead of canceling us for our indiscretions. We must look to the cross, look at our own lives and see how our Christ “canceled” our debts when we trusted Christ. Maybe we can show some grace and forgive what we think deserves punishment.