I have often lamented about my past. I believe most people do. Daydreamed about going back in time so I could un-say something, undo an action, or not have taken that risk, opportunity, or challenge. Unfortunately, there are rarely any do-overs. Yet there are so many, “I wish I hadn’t said that and/or done that.” No one is free from mistakes or regrets.
Recently, a friend of mine was attacked for something they said over thirty years ago, during the time in our lives when we are still learning and discovering the world outside our small bubble. Thirty years ago, there were no internet, social media, or the ever-present cell phones, and yet this person was dragged through the mud, nonetheless. I guess we should have expected it, high profile people, who make history, are easy prey for ridicule and judgment. All that she had been working on for nearly a year crumbled after her past mistake was not only thrown in her face but also blasted on social media for world judgment.
You know what I’m talking about—it’s called cancel culture. Unfortunately, we have seen this all over. Jobs have been lost, lives have been threatened, and people nearly destroyed. The idea that every mistake, or perceived mistake, you have made will define and affect you your whole life is only partly right.
Yes, there should be consequences from our actions, but hopefully, we learn from our mistakes. Hopefully, we mature, grow, and gain wisdom from our mistakes. This can happen when we accept personal responsibility for our actions. This is the part when our past can help define, redeem us, and positively affect our future.
The part of this phenomenon that is wrong, is the all-consuming punishment and disgrace people are being inflicted with. Also, when people are not charged, judged, and convicted by the same standards, then you have some people being ruined and others are given a pass. The crushing part of this cancel culture is that it leaves no room for redemption and no room for grace and forgiveness.
As a woman who does all she can to follow Christ, I am determined to do my best to give grace and forgiveness. I try to help others see where they may have made a mistake, how to rectify it, and how to also give grace and forgiveness. I love reminding others that our Lord, Jesus Christ, forgives and redeems us and continues to help us daily to make the right decisions. And when we don’t and we make a mistake, He allows the consequences to help us learn and grow in His grace.
John 1:29 reminds us that Jesus took the sins of the world for us all. Leviticus 16:30 speaks of a day of atonement where we get to be cleansed of our sins and as Christ-followers, we can do this daily. Psalm 51:10 follows Leviticus by letting us know that He can create a good heart in each of us and renew us with a steadfast spirit. Psalm 103:12 tells us that he does this by removing our sins as far as the East is from the West. 1 John 1:7-9 explains that when we walk with Him, He can purify us. For no one can claim that they are without sin. But He is faithful should we confessed to Him; He will forgive and redeem us. And finally, in Hebrews 8:12 we are reminded that the Lord will forgive each and every one of us and will remember our sins no more.
There is no need, no purpose, and no grace when we cancel a person’s life for mistakes they have made. Our communities, world, and families would be better served learning from our mistakes, growing, and sharing grace and forgiveness, for we are all redeemable.