“That’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change. If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get very far. That’s easy to do.” – Barack Obama on “Call- Out Culture”
I hate cancel culture. There I said it. Even when I fully disagree with someone else’s point of view, I’m still not interested in cancelling that person. Why? Because maybe that isn’t where heart change is going to happen. And in case you haven’t noticed…..it’s not happening.
I’m not in the business of cancelling but I’d be happy to invest in cancelling “cancel culture”.
Before I dive into my complete dislike and distaste for this subject, I do recognize that accountability is needed in others. Especially when it comes to social justice and pushing for a systematic change that gives people of all races, gender, religions, and sexual orientations the same equity and treatment. However, I think we as a society have a very tainted and distorted view on the meaning of holding one accountable for their actions and words.
“If you lead with love, and you build a relationship and start to listen to somebody who doesn’t look like you, and vote like you, and believe like you, there will be a window of time to share some truth. And lives can be changed this way.” – Shawn Johnson (Lead Pastor of Red Rocks Church)
Cancelling and/or cutting someone short we disagree with is easy, but facilitating a relationship and allowing room for a change of heart takes work. In fact, I was part of cancel culture on my own before it was the social media trend.
If you disagreed with me anywhere from politics to sports, you lacked education in my book. But here’s the irony; I was the one who lacked education……and integrity, grace, and patience. I made no point to listen to other views and hear people’s experiences out. I was stubbornly right in my opinion and it must have been hurtful for those around me. Especially my friends of color when I would, as lovingly as I could, say “All Lives Matter” in response to “Black Lives Matter”. I let my privilege blind me from a real systematic issue that people of color experience on an every day basis. I let my privilege taint my lense of America through a form of patriotism that enabled my willful ignorance.
For the record my views have thoroughly changed since then. Black Lives Matter. We have a systematic issue in this country and are deeply embedded with racism covered up with privilege and political silver tongue language. Not everyone has been granted the same rights and equity as myself, a white person. And we have a lot of work to do to create change to a system that should truly reflect what our Constitution states.
So how did my stubborn views change you might ask? It’s simple; both Jesus and my friends chose not to cancel me. Let me just say how grateful I am for the grace of God that never runs out on us. I am also grateful for the grace of my friends of color who heard me say “All Lives Matter” and still chose to befriend me. Both Jesus and my friends created a space for hard truth and grace. When both are put together and done through a relationship, it’s transformative. It was then my eyes and heart were open to the experiences they were burdened with on a daily basis. My heart posture shifted towards God’s heart and away from Molly’s privileged point of views.
I’ve been the most vocal about social justice, inequality, and Black Lives Matter than I’ve every been during this crazy year in 2020. It started with the Amhaud Arbery video of watching an unarmed black man murdered for going on a jog. I felt a righteous rage and anger stir in my heart as well as mourning and weeping for my friends of color. I pictured Jesus flipping tables as we watched headlines talk more about George Floyd’s past than about his present….and oh his unjustly murder. I listened to black leaders in the church talk about their experiences of racism and prejudice that are never talked about in the media. I chose to educate myself with documentaries and books that would help guide me on how to be a better ally for my friends of color.
I’m not looking for praise or a congratulatory because these are elementary steps that all white people should be taking. The point of me walking you through my ideology transformation is to show you what cancel culture can’t do.
James 1:19-20 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
Christians, are we loving or cancelling? Who and what are dictating our views and thoughts? If it’s anyone or anything other than the heart of God, we’re already off on the wrong foot. If we contribute to cancel culture, the world will never see the Kingdom and what transformative love can do.
To my friends of color; you know who are you are. Thank you for not cancelling me when you could have and should have. Instead, you allowed me to grow which created the room for a heart change that grew your army of allies.
I shutter to think of how many times Jesus could have cancelled me but didn’t. Instead, he faithfully chose to pursue me, even in my rebellion and ignorance. To this very day, he continues to lovingly correct and convict me.
I will not cancel someone I disagree with because that will never bring heart change. I will, however, both lovingly and gracefully, correct you and hold you accountable. Let both my friends’ and Jesus’s examples show you that grace and truth together do work. Let’s stop cancelling and instead, start correcting.