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You've been canceled

July 7, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Romans 3:22-24).


For those unfamiliar with the term, “cancel culture refers to the popular practice of canceling, or withdrawing support, often through shaming on social media, for public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.

In the beginning, they came for the perpetrators of sexual assault. One by one, the women came forward and named their assailants, the ones who had violated them against their will. And giving them our support, we pronounced those men guilty, and canceled them.

Next up were the racists. Anyone who had used a racial epithet, shown unjust discrimination or bias, or failed to speak out against injustice was ridiculed, shamed, and, in the end, canceled.

Soon they found other offenses to target. The abusers – those who had been guilty of striking a child, a spouse, or an animal - were removed from their jobs, their positions, and from being a respected member of society. Canceled.

Not to be outdone, another mob rose up in outrage against the adulterers, the divorced, and those living together outside of marriage. They also identified those who had had abortions, blacklisting the whole lot of them with one big “canceled” sign.

Next up were the wealthy: those who hoarded more than their fair share, indulging in excess while more than half the world lived in poverty. How dare they live so selfishly, treat others with such indifference. Consider them canceled as well.

But then the poor were dragged before the crowd. Those who refused to get a job, preferring to live off the state. Deadbeat dads, the drug addicted, and the petty criminals, guilty of making our streets and cities unsafe. They were all canceled too.

The witch hunt continued. Immigrants were canceled. Lying politicians were canceled. Crooked cops and greedy clergymen and dishonest salesmen and manipulative media members, all of them were canceled.

By this time the crowd had thinned considerably, leaving only a few who had escaped the mob’s cancelling power. They exclaimed to each other, “I am so thankful that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers, or tax collectors.” But then they heard a voice from heaven exclaim, “Woe to you all – on the outside you appear to people as righteous, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness (Matthew 23:28). I tell you that all who exalt themselves will be humbled (Luke 18:14).” And just like that, the self-righteous were canceled as well.

In the end, no man or woman was left standing. All had been canceled. “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.’” (Romans 3:10-12).

But even as every man and woman sat condemned by the crowd, with no hope for redemption, there arose one without sin, a Savior who offered absolution, complete forgiveness, and a perfect record to all who would trust in Him. This Savior offered to take the punishment that each one deserved, to be canceled in their place, so that they might be restored, redeemed, and made new.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8).

The “cancel culture” crowd can be cruel, arbitrary, and unforgiving in their desire for justice. Thankfully, our God is not like the crowd. We may deserve to be canceled because of our abuses, injustices, and failure to live righteously, but by Christ’s death on the cross, the law that condemns us has been canceled, and we stand redeemed, not guilty before a holy God.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:13-15).

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