Reflections by John Stell May 2022
Cancel culture has become a modern phenomenon without precedent. Never before has the world at large had instant access to news, movies, music, and interpersonal dialogue. The capability for a mob-like public crucifixion and stoning is now something done with ease. There are many arguments from society and Western Culture at large that justify the brutality of global public slandering on a stage which millions can view and partake in. So where does Christ fall into this matter? One Gospel account quickly comes to mind.
I can only imagine what it must have been like for the adulterous woman in Christ’s time being thrown before a vengeful crowd…yet now we have amplified such public stonings before the whole world. People who have fallen prey to cancel culture have lost their reputation, their livelihoods, even their lives by way of suicide. Yet what is the benefit to mankind from such vengeful public crucifixions? Is it better that these people had never been born in the first place? Christ reminds us that we will each be judged according to the ruler that we have used against others. In this case, we should find it prudent to refrain from participating in this call for mass public humiliation. Perhaps what’s more is that we should attempt to intervene as Christ did for the woman in Scripture: “Whichever one of you is without sin may cast the first stone.” Unfortunately, we live in merciless times, and stones will undoubtedly still be thrown. But if we truly profess to follow Christ, then perhaps it would be judicious of us to adopt the same attitudes and mindset of our Master.
One theory on the afterlife is that many demons will come to accuse us of our past sins before God. The angels then come to the defense of the helpless soul to witness for forgiveness and the repentance that the individual performed. There is a parallel here. If we partake of these public executions now, are we not like the demons accusing souls at the end of life? Additionally, how can we expect the angels to defend us if we condemn others on a global stage?
When it is all said and done, the appropriate and correct action is simple. At a minimum, the Christian response is to NOT participate in such public executions that have become commonplace on social media—at a greater expectation, we are called to respond to these executions like Christ did, even if it means we will be ridiculed, criticized, and destroyed along with our fellow brothers and sisters. That is the price of true Christianity, and we should realize that in these times we must be willing to love others enough to sacrifice our own safety for them. For it has been said, “A servant is not greater than his master.” If the world persecuted Christ, then it will also persecute those who follow Christ. We should always be mindful that Christianity has never been, and will never be, synonymous with the word ‘comfortable.’