Standing Strong in Cancel Culture
We live in a time where a giant threat looms: If we step out of the dogma currently popular in our “woke” culture, we will be “canceled.” This means anything from losing our social media platform, friends and family, to losing our career or our schooling opportunities. This fear of loss has people either keeping silent in the face of what they believe is wrong-headed, or even capitulating to these ever-changing standards and mores with which they secretly disagree. It is an unsettling thing to be controlled by fear.
Recently I read an illustration from the life of 4th century church father, John Chrysostom. John was very counter-cultural in his day, and pulled no punches in calling it as he believed the Bible saw it. This got him into hot water with the Roman emperor. It is said that the emperor angrily threatened John, “If you don’t give up your faith, I will banish you.” John replied, “You can’t banish me, because the entire world is my Father’s house.”
Then the emperor threatened to put John to death, but John said, “You can’t take my life, because it is hidden with Christ in God. Next the emperor threatened to take all of John’s possessions, but John retorted, “No, you can’t touch my possessions because my heart and my treasure are in heaven.” In frustration the emperor threated that he would drive John away from his friends, but John countered, “You can’t make me friendless, because I can never be separated from my Father in heaven. I defy all your attempts to silence me, because there is nothing on earth you can do to hurt me.”
John had the antidote for the cancel culture of his day—a cancellation that included taking his life. With his eyes firmly fixed on the Lord, he did not fear, and it is fear that drives the control of most forms of cancel culture, including our own. He realized that, in reality, there was nothing that anyone could take from him that mattered in the light of eternity, and that all he had was based on his relationship with His Father.
We can see from the shifting sands of our society, one can never be woke enough to satisfy the culture police. Wokeism is a beast that eats its own, as we witness on a weekly basis. It is far better to stand on God’s unchanging truth and draw our confidence from our love relationship with Him than to try to find tenuous security in the quagmire of the latest standards of offence, or the flag to which everyone is now rallying.
This is how you stand firm in such a time: Know who God is, what He stands for, and what He has promised. Know who you are in Him and to Him, and what is yours in Him. Cling in faith to your foundation, and pray you’ll stand unshakably, as John did, no matter what threats are unleashed against you. Whatever is gained by staying in step with the cultural flavor of the day is lost forever in the face of eternity, but whatever we lose standing for God in this age will be more than repaid in the land which will not end. We have His word on that.