Whatever side of the political spectrum you stand on, if you are a Christian, of all people you have the greatest challenge. The ungodly ideology which pervades our world today insists on cancelling and side-lining anyone they disagree with is endemic in our culture is very persuasive and infectious.
To a degree we have always had a tendency to cancel. In years gone by, we learned “the power of the off switch”, meaning if I find a TV show offensive – I don’t watch it. If I find a newspaper or article distasteful I don’t read it. If I think a book is unsavoury I don’t buy it. If I think I am going to be upset by a public speaker I don’t go to hear him/her.
The difference now is that people believe if they don’t want to watch read or hear something, they believe they have the “right” to cancel it, not just to ensure they don’t have to endure it, but to ensure no one else does. What is defined as hateful is not objective, it is subjective, in other words, YOU get to define what that is and there is no expectation that you take someone else’s view into account. We are becoming the moral arbiters, the thought police for everyone. This is a paradigm shift in the way we regulate the public arena.
So, for example, if a figure in history has done something which modern society now sees as reprehensible, people think that the right thing to do is to remove them from history (regardless of any good they have also done). From removing books from libraries (for example, try to find Little House on the Prairie or To Kill a Mockingbird in some libraries today), to desecrating and toppling statues (a notable example is the treatment of the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol during the BLM riot there earlier in 2020). All over the Western world, there are campaigns to remove all sorts of people from all sorts of aspects of our history (though notably, some of the most racist people in history, are not targets at the moment—e.g. Charles Darwin, Margaret Sanger).
If someone says or you think is likely to say something you find upsetting or “hateful”, you protest and campaign and the institution hosting the event backs down and cancels the event. Victory! – but not for freedom.
People believe that the Christian faith is offensive and those who hold to traditional orthodox Christian belief are deserving of the same treatment as people who hold reprehensible beliefs such as racism or mysogyny (though interestingly, BOTH of those beliefs are anathema to true Biblical teaching). The absolute irony is that those who criticise and cancel Christians will themselves suffer the ultimate “cancel” if they don’t change.
The ultimate cancel happens when a Holy God cannot look upon sin and removes it from His presence. He says to his people – get rid of sin from your midst, and if there are those who won’t stop sinning, get rid of them too. The fate of those who hate God to the extent that they won’t follow him is described in Revelation 20:15 “if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
So, what does God do?
Read Philippians 2:5-8 and you will see that he does this … He joins those he finds distasteful. Jesus lays aside His holiness and comes to earth as one of us in order that we don’t get cancelled, but rather the opposite – to introduce us to the father so that we have a route back to relationship, to being grafted into his family.
God doesn’t cancel man, he comes to him and loves him and calls his people to do the same.
So … the next time you think someone is going to do or say something you will find offensive, don’t cancel them. Get down off your high horse and draw alongside them, get to know them and you will almost certainly discover they are actually not so different to you. If you are a Christian, show them the truth of the Gospel and introduce them to He who cancels no-one, but rather offers THEM this choice: “Will you follow me? Or not?”
If you are not a Christian, the choice remains: choose Jesus, or reject and cancel him. Each choice has a consequence, but the choice is yours to make and the ball is in your court.