There is so much anger, hatred, and bitterness in our world today. You can see it oozing out of people's mouths and eyes on the news.
The love of many has certainly grown cold as it says it will in the last days.
What is this new idea "cancel culture" that is becoming normalized in our culture?
Here is the definition of cancel culture:
"Cancel culture (or call-out culture) is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles - either online on social media, in the real world, or both. Those who are subject to this ostracism are said to be "canceled."
This isn't just happening in social and professional circles, it is happening in families. I would describe "cancel culture" simply as unforgiveness.
If we don't agree with someone, it is much easier to remove them from our lives than to do the hard work healthy relationships require and talk through disagreements. Another hard thing it requires is HUMILITY. People who have adopted this cancel culture think they are right, innocent, and validated in their decision to remove someone from their lives.
Is this what the Bible teaches?
The Bible says that God requires us to walk in forgiveness. It warns us that we can develop roots of bitterness by "canceling" people and ultimately defile those around us. We aren't to let the sun go down on our anger. To forgive whatever grievance we have with one another. The strange thing about this cancel culture is that they are usually the ones doing the harm yet blaming it on the one they cancel. New Age Religion calls this "neutralizing" people. That if someone is "toxic", you simply neutralize them and move on with your life. Then you are finally free.
But are you really free? Is it even realistic to remove all toxic people from our lives while we live on this earth? Maybe if you live alone on a deserted island.
But then again you are actually STILL STUCK with a toxic person because of the sin in your own heart! To think everyone else is toxic and our heart is pure is a very deceptive lie from the pit.
The Bible teaches us we are to cancel ourSELVES. We are to nail our sinful nature to the cross and not live for ourselves anymore.
While we were sinners (or while we were TOXIC), Christ died for us!
By "canceling/neutralizing" people (aka unforgiveness), we are pouring more "toxins"(aka sin) into our own heart.
If anybody should have canceled a culture, it was Jesus Christ!
He should have canceled me, and you, and the entire toxic/sinful world!
Let's remember His last words:
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Jesus died offering forgiveness to the world. The world that nailed Him to the cross... because He SO loved them. There is a direct correlation between the forgiveness He offers us and the forgiveness we offer others!
"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." Eph 4:31-32
Unforgiveness is required before we come to the Father in prayer.
"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Anger and unforgiveness does not free us.
It controls us.
And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
I think when we fail to walk in grace and humility and hold grudges, we are at great danger of falling away. We cannot FORGET where we came from.
But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.
2 Peter 1:9,10
We have to make allowance for each other's faults! God made a costly allowance for ours.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
If you have adopted this "cancel-culture" belief system, ask God to forgive you. It is definitely the short-cut out of difficult relationships but it defiles you and so many others in the long run.
If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 1 John
If you are having trouble with anger and bitterness because you have been wronged, take it to the Lord. He is not going to command you to do something He won't empower you to do. He will give you the power to forgive. There is real hurt and pain that can only be handled by Jesus.
Maybe your pain is directed toward someone in your family. Go to them. Be at peace with all men as far as it is up to you. If they don't want peace or relationship, that is their decision but be a peacemaker. Walk in humility. God will give you the strength. It is very vulnerable. Imagine how Jesus felt as He hung naked and bleeding on the cross offering forgiveness to those casting lots over his clothes.
Don't take part in this new push of bitterness and unforgiveness. It is way too dangerous spiritually.
If you want to feel refreshed, repent of unforgiveness. Extend forgiveness. Walk in love.
"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord"
Take your pain to the Lord. Ask Him for help. Don't start "canceling" people you disagree with politically. Don't believe the New Age garbage that you can "neutralize" people who are toxic. New Age teaching convinces you that anyone you want to remove from your life a "narcissist". There is no taking responsibility of your own sin.
What this really does is "neutralize" you in any effective ministry because it allows a root of bitterness to be planted.
The Holy Spirit will empower you to navigate difficult relationships.
I am not suggesting anyone stay in an abusive relationship, that is different. There are VERY difficult, selfish people that we can't pour all of our emotional energy into. That is not what I am saying. Have boundaries (when necessary) but let the Holy Spirit guide those boundaries in love. And always be ready and willing to forgive!
Because of Jesus, we can love FREELY.
"I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them."
Ask God to give you His power to love people FREELY. Not holding onto anger and grudges. Give your pain to the Lord and let Him truly SET YOU FREE!
Christians must say no to "cancel culture"!
And say yes to "forgiveness culture"!
I think "remembering" is the key to being able to forgive. Remember how much Jesus has forgived you. I am so thankful He didn't take a short cut and just "cancel" us. He died in order to forgive and have relationship.