I’ve been reflecting lately on how Cancel Culture forces us to live into “either, or” rather than “both, and”. When someone messes up, we vilify them, insult their mama and come for their edges. We’re all one wrong tweet away from being canceled.
To be clear, I’m NOT advocating for a blind forgiveness that doesn’t hold people accountable. No - if someone is wrong, name it. If there’s a way to rectify the wrong, demand it. There are absolutely people in the world who do and say terrible things knowingly, without remorse or care the ones they harm, and I love that our generation is holding their feet to the fire. To turn a blind eye to their wrongs (or anybody’s wrong) would be a slap in the justice's face.
There’s no better example of this than the #BlackLivesMatter movement. People like Brett Hankinson, Jonathan Mattingly, and Myles Cosgrove - the cops who murdered Breona Taylor - need to be held accountable for what they did. Systems need to shift, eyes need to be opened, and a long withheld justice needs to be served.
But how about the people who are trying to right their wrongs? The ones who are trying to learn? Sometimes, people just mess up. And while we should absolutely hold those people accountable, too, what a shame it is that we don’t give them the same measure of grace that we ourselves would want.
We pigeonhole people (and ourselves) into a specific narrative, thus denying them of the duality that lives in all of us.
We are all made up of “both, and”. For example, I am both skilled at public speaking to large groups of strangers, and I absolutely freak out when I have to “mingle” at happy hours and mixers. I both love my body (with all its extra weight) and desire to change the way it looks. You can both forgive someone, and choose not to let them back into your life. Someone can both be wrong and be worthy of a chance to make it right. After all - that’s the whole reason Christ died for us, right? Despite our sinfulness (that is, our mistakes, our aggression, our purposeful wrongdoings, etc.), God deemed us worthy of forgiveness (Romans 5:7-8). He saw the “both, and” in us before we even saw it in ourselves.
So who are we to withhold that grace from anyone else?