How Christian Writers Can Confront Cancel Culture
Should Christian writers participate in cancel culture as part of their writing ministry? We’ve all witnessed it and perhaps taken part in it at one time or another. But have we thought about what it means to cancel and be canceled?
We see something outrageous on social media, and we suddenly participate in the mob throwing of “shame grenades” at the violator. Such violators are routinely shamed and humiliated publicly. They are forced to repent for their transgressions for the whole world to see.
Consequently, the violator eventually gets fired from their job or canceled all together from the public sphere. This is what we call “cancel culture.” It’s the modern-day version of being a Pharisee. Our political partisanship has amplified the worst segments of our culture. The rhetoric is even more deplorable.
We’ve all seen the cancel culture mob in action. They drudge up a person’s past (we’ve all have skeletons in our closet) and accuse this person as being the worst person on the planet and BAM!—they are tarred, feathered, and ostracized. Cancel culture is about accusations with no forgiveness.
We need to be careful and not get swept by the tide of cancel culture by participating in this mob mentality. Cancel culture is fundamentally destructive, dangerous, and Christian writers can be a potent force in reversing this dark trend.
Secular Pharisees Take Control
Fringe individuals in our society have taken it upon themselves to act as the moral arbiters of what is right and wrong. There’s no open voting process. There are no criteria on the level of egregiousness. There is no formal court system established or an appointed impartial judge who will preside over a fair hearing about what is and what is not just.
If you’re found guilty, the “canceling” process will begin. Once the ruling has been handed down, there is no appealing the decision.
All decisions are final, and you are then ousted from society, labeled as “factionless.” You are no longer welcomed in any group. You will be bullied until you cower in shame.
Of course, nobody wants to be marginalized like this, so begrudgingly, most will keep silent and abide by these new unspoken rules.
Cancel culture is similar in how the religious Pharisees acted towards a woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11. It is familiar to us all: The Pharisees brought Jesus a woman who was allegedly caught in the act of adultery. They were prepared to stone her to death as their interpretation of the law dictated.
Jesus did not say, “Cancel her!” He said, “Let the person who is free of any wrong-doing cancel her.”
In that simple act, Jesus demonstrated the way out of our present-day cancel culture madness.
Christian Writers Reserve Judgement
The law at that time was to stone the man and woman who committed an act of adultery. The key is John 8:7. Jesus wasn’t hard or soft on sin when he asked this question. He was asking a very simple, yet powerful question about “who” can judge sinners.
Jesus said that the one who is without sin could begin the rock-throwing. Yet, no one among the Pharisees was sinless and able to throw the first rock.
Here’s the thing. We humans are all sinners and are incredibly flawed. None of us are without sin. But Jesus is perfect, sinless, and unblemished.
Many of us are quick to judge and condemn our neighbors for a variety of reasons. That stems from our carnal nature. Yet, Jesus says we should be looking into our hearts to find the grace to forgive our neighbor.
This situation is critical for us to remember. We must be the forgivers and not the accusers.
The Pharisees lacked forgiveness for the woman who committed adultery. They were quick to accuse her of sin that they failed to see their own shortcomings. Every one of us falls short of deserving God’s grace and forgiveness. It’s so easy to point out the sins of our neighbors; we forget that we have our own glaring weakness.
That is an essential message for Christian writers to communicate, both in their formal and informal writing.
Christian Writers Can Counter with Mercy
God is so merciful and loving and that he has forgiven our sins. However, if we cannot forgive our neighbors, why should we expect God to forgive us?
John 8 is vital for us to learn why we should forgive others rather than accuse them. We see there the character of Christ toward sinners who break the commands of God, and the freedom that comes to them by accepting his grace. We must extend this same grace to sinners around us, even when we disagree with their social or political agenda.
Cancel culture goes against the character of Christ. As Christian writers, we should be the forgiver and not the accuser. Secular culture will always be in the business of accusing and destroying those who have sinned because it is obsessed with gaining views, clicks, likes, and going viral on social media. Cancel culture represents the worst of human nature that is devoid of Christ.
As born-again Christians who are called to minister to others through writing, we are to embody the character of Christ and boldly stand against the rising tide of cancel culture.
It is risky facing vicious secular Pharisees and the cancel culture they have created. However, our Lord was in the forgiveness business, and we must follow him as we challenge the culture of hate and alienation.
Mike Price is a Christian writer, husband, political junkie, Atlanta Braves fan, Marvel Nerd, craft beer aficionado, and a sinner saved by grace. He has a passion for helping Christian men grow in their faith. He is the founder and managing editor of JoshuasOutpost.com, a Christian men’s ministry focused on helping men grow in their faith and leading others to the cross.