“Cancel culture” has become a trend of Generation Z.

Being part of it seems to indicate that I have to “cancel” people I disagree with or who don’t accept the “right” truth. With this perspective, people are defined by their mistakes. In our eyes, it becomes their identity.

Our worlds become extremely small as we surround ourselves with people who think similarly and have the same opinions. 

We might not realize how much it hurts us, separating ourselves by differences. While I value being socially aware and respectful, something gets lost in the reality of “canceling” someone else. 

We need to hold boundaries and practice accountability. Letting go of unhealthy relationships is a part of life. 

But are we taking it too far? Are we using a “canceled” movement to justify pushing others away without doing the hard work of seeing how gray life really is?

There is no such thing as a “right” truth. For every answer, there are always unknowns and limitations. There are things beyond our understanding.

Furthermore, certainty is an illusion we create. We control nothing outside our conscious actions. We don’t even control our autonomic nervous systems or our surrounding environment.

The problem with “cancel culture” arises when we forget these principles. We do not recognize the limitations of our realities.

It likely started with the European Enlightenment period and resulted in humanity valuing an unattainable “human perfection.” But it leaves no room for mistakes, growth, and change.

Like most of us, I often have difficulty accepting that “right” and “wrong” are rarely straightforward. By picking a certain truth, we deny our limitations and push others further away. 

Because the world is grayer than we would like, we look for something easy, cheap and certain.

Is being “right” at the cost of connecting with others worth it?  

Our salvation may be stepping away from the extremes of a black-and-white world and stepping towards each other.

Jesus took steps toward those society wanted to “cancel.” He hung out with “sinners,” tax collectors, prostitutes, fishermen and the “others.”

Christ didn’t hang shame over their heads for what he disagreed with. He attempted to know them and share God’s love. A love that says, “I struggle, too.”

Developing relationships with those we consider difficult and “wrong” means listening and understanding. The possible annoyance and anger are worth it. 

We don’t have to agree or see eye-to-eye. But we can recognize we all make mistakes, struggle and suffer. A “canceled” movement only associates people with their mistakes, leaving them no opportunity to grow and change. 

This is where the radical message of Jesus steps in. He reminds us to look at the speck in our own eyes before pointing the finger at someone else (Matthew 7:3-5).

If we hold “canceling” to the full extent, it will also mean “canceling” ourselves.

While this never excuses bigotry or hatred, we all have fallen short of not offending someone else. We have said the wrong thing or the wrong word, not realizing what it means in specific contexts. 

Instead, we can free ourselves to learn from our mistakes and offer mercy to others.

Because, if you are anything like me, this is your first go-around in life. Mistakes will happen because I am not perfect, and neither are you.

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