Did you happen this past week to catch the latest cancel culture casualty? The newly hired editor of Teen Vogue (a young woman of color) was forced to resign due to insensitive racist remarks she wrote when she was a teenager ten years ago at the naive age of 17. She has since apologized for those remarks but that didn’t matter to the cancel culture crowd – those awful words should never have been uttered and she was booted out of her job.
Is this really the message we want to send to people – that no matter how much you’ve changed, improved or bettered your life, there will never be room for you?! Never a second chance? I don’t think so! And thankfully, this is the exact opposite of what the Bible teaches.
Remember good ol’ Saul of the New Testament? Saul ravaged the Christian church, entering homes of Christians and sending them to prison. He was present for the stoning death of Stephen – even holding the garments of Stephen’s executioners. Saul later experienced a dramatic conversion, becoming the Apostle Paul, a spirited and passionate minister of the Gospel. You might even say that Paul was one of the first civil rights activists, preaching, teaching and ministering to Jew and Gentile alike!
So, are there any modern day Saul/Paul’s out there today? You bet – and they are everywhere! We have a great guy at DP – Reggie – who grew up in a well-to-do family, but getting off-track, his life crashed and burned after using and selling drugs for years. Many times he had skinheads, Mexican gangsters and blacks all “chillin’ & doin’ drugs” together in his home.
But in the end, this lifestyle ended with Reggie becoming homeless and living by the railroad tracks behind the Hemet Courthouse. He was soon arrested for stealing and was sent to the crowbar hotel. While there, facing the loss of his family, he accepted the Lord and his life began to finally change for the better.
Reggie was eventually released into the ROC program with intense counseling and court visits, all the while moving forward, ultimately landing at our church making more headway in his life. I heard him give his testimony at our Bible School one evening and thought, this guy is a person going through a severe makeover! He is literally changing right before our eyes. And indeed he was and he did.
Today Reggie runs our Unchained Ministry Program, two Bible studies, helps with the “I Love Hemet Kingdom Project” in addition to working with a food bank! Plus – he never misses a Sunday morning worship service! A “Saul to Paul” story for sure!
Now back to cancel culture. I personally think it’s a spin-off of the “crab syndrome.” You know – if one crab attempts to escape from a bucket of live crabs, the other crabs grab him and pull that break-away dude right back into the bucket with everyone else.
Same with cancel culture – they cannot allow anyone to escape his/her past history – no grace or redemption here! Everyone complies or else!! As Teal Swan has noted: “Cancel culture is not actually about justice. It is about control. People use cancellation to force conformity.” No room for free thought, forgiveness, or missteps. No Saul’s to Paul’s. So sad!
What a stark contrast to Biblical do-overs! 2 Corinthians 5 tells us that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone and a new life has emerged. No cancel culture or “crab syndrome” welcome here! Thank God for Divine Mulligans!
And now – back to Reggie. Did I mention that Reggie is black? Black black and that I’m white white? In many ways we are vastly different but we are both part of the same remarkable family of God. How cool is that?! William Coffin says it this way: “Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without.” Don’t you think it’s about time we go ahead and cancel cancel culture?!
Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet, CA. For more information you can visit them at DPCityChurch.org
Susan Beckett • Dwelling Place City Church
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