There have been many new phrases protruding from the cultural landscape lately. One of them is “cancel culture”. According to Google, cancel culture (or call-out culture) is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – whether it be online, on social media, or in person. Those who are subject to this ostracism are said to be “canceled”. I think that we could all agree that there are certain things that we would love to see permanently removed from our life experience. Things like racism, elitism, and crimes against humanity to name a few.
For me, the problem is determining who gets to decide who and what are canceled. Historically, those with the power to implement this kind of change were largely of evil intent. Hitler, for example, abhorrently attempted to cancel a whole race of people. Our own U.S. government ordered the slaying of herds of buffalo in order to effectively cancel Native American culture. Human trafficking is a tool used to attempt to cancel the identities of its victims in order to profit from their anonymity. The grievous list runs prohibitively long for this communication.
Ultimately, we as Christ-followers know that Satan, who is the god of this world system, is behind all of the atrocities that occur in this world. We see his job description in Jesus’ words found in John 10:10 in the Bible. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. Satan’s intentions are always evil, and He desires more than anything to attempt to cancel Christ. He has tried historically to do this in so many ways and he will continue his efforts using any means necessary.
I believe he is behind the scenes working to create a reality where those who have influence in a culture have been given the license to determine what should and shouldn’t be canceled. If those who have been designated as the “moral police” don’t have the foundation of a relationship with Christ then they can easily be swayed to cast judgment on what they consider to be unappealing.
In my opinion, the victim in all of this is truth. Absolute truth is under assault. I have joked recently that I wish that we could go back to a climate where moral relativism is the norm in the sense that at least to a certain extent you were allowed to have your own opinion on what you believe is true. People are being forced in today’s reality to conform or be canceled. The brand of truth that is espoused by the woke society is absolute in the sense that compliance isn’t just suggested, it’s demanded. Either you accept and promote what culture is considering the norm or you are labeled and set aside in a permanent timeout.
How should we respond to this form of pressure? Should we grow more and more silent so as to not draw attention to the differences in our belief system? Should we play the game of conformity around certain crowds in order to alleviate stress and retaliation?
Three Scripture passages hold what I believe to be the answer to these all-important questions.
1. We must resist conformation and seek transformation. Rom. 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
2. We must remember that truth isn’t just conceptual but is a person. John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
3. We must honor Christ even if that means we will be canceled by some. 1 Peter 3:14-17 – But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.