In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Endgame revolves around a villain with good intent named Thanos. He wants to end suffering by snapping his fingers with infinity stones and just make half the people he deems as unnecessary or a hinderance to world survival disappear. So just as the MCU has post credit scenes, I offer up a follow up to yesterday’s blog.
I stand by the scripture:
- 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23 ESV
The implication for today’s cancel culture is that if you dig hard enough and long enough into someone’s personal life you will find something that was not culturally acceptable. The unspoken theology is that I have nothing in my life that is offensive to others. The reality is that is not true.
Even Billy Graham had to be chastised early on in his evangelistic career for not properly caring for his children as he did not recognize one of his own children at one of his crusades. He changed. When his wife was asked once if she ever thought about divorce, she responded, “Divorce no, murder yes.” And even the wife of Mister Rodgers would tell you he was not saint and had his flaws. I once met a man who said that in 30 years of marriage him and his wife never argued once. I quipped “Oh so your type that goes weeks without speaking to one another” and he promptly stormed off. I have never yet to meet the person who in their past has not done or said something culturally dumb, crude, rude, ignorant, wrong, or foolish.
I came across the following article as I was delving more into the unspoken theology of yesterdays blog.
Now, I openly admit I know nothing about the personal life, faith, nor politics of Alexey Navlny a Russian Political Dissenter. But what scares me about this article is that he qualifies as an “advocacy of hatred.”
- Navalny suffered a symbolic setback recently when Amnesty International rescinded his status as a “prisoner of conscience,” saying anti-immigrant statements he made early in his career qualified as “advocacy of hatred.” His allies denounced the move, saying Amnesty had fallen victim to a campaign by pro-Kremlin forces. The international rights group denied that.
I went ahead and downloaded Article 19 which attempts to clarify what that term means:
- In this policy paper, focuses on the kind of “hate speech” described in Article 20(2) of the ICCPR, where it is narrowly defined as “advocacy of hatred on prohibited grounds that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence” (in short, “incitement to hatred” or “incitement”)”
The problem is that the enforcement of any such notion usually runs one way. Those that are as enlightened as we are, can engage in zero tolerance, those that are not as enlightened deserve to be eliminated. And to use the word “hate” is one of those things that can get us canceled by others.
Consider some things that God hates:
- Isaiah 61:8 ESV – 8 For I the LORD love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
- Jeremiah 44:4 ESV – 4 Yet I persistently sent to you all my servants the prophets, saying, ‘Oh, do not do this abomination that I hate!‘
- Amos 5:21 ESV – 21 “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
- Zechariah 8:17 ESV – 17 do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD.”
Notice the key to understanding God’s hatred, he hates things and behaviors, not people. God even says I hate divorce, but he does not say he hates those who divorce.
- Malachi 2:16 NASB – 16 “For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the LORD of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
When attempting to express this publicly as Christians, we quite often get accused of hating the person who practices such behavior. (And unfortunately, there have been times in the church where that line has been crossed).
Even Bill Maher, who is an openly outspoken critic of Christianity has warned about the absurdity of cancel culture:
Should we fear that we can be singled out, No. Have we all at one time done something that could get us canceled, yes. But we can receive forgiveness, to learn and grow. Someone once said “God loves us just the way we are but he cares about us to much to leave us that way.” We can not afford to cast stones against those who may not be as far down the road of growth as we are. Funny things about driving on roads. Those who drive slower than us but are in front of us, are hinderances and obstacles in our way. Those that pass us are maniacs and too radical, and drive too fast.
The truth is we all have sinned but ironically it does not say all have loved. People may not love who we are but that does not prevent us from loving in return:
- Matthew 5:44 ESV – 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
And I remind all that:
- Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV – 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
So before casting that first stone to cancel someone, instead engage in some honest introspection. Be sure to remember:
- Matthew 5:7 ESV – 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
You may be surprised to find that you too have fallen short.
As always, love much my friends.