Many years are known for something that happens during the year or an individual whose actions or personality had an immense impact on the year. I am sure that this last year will be remembered by the word, COVID-19.
For me a different word is going to be what marks 2020; I thought it might be a fun year as I started out with my joke about not having to wear glasses since it was “2020,” but the word that ended up marking 2020 for me was “cancel.” Many events were canceled; worship services not the least among them. Schools, graduations, jobs; even people were being canceled, meaning that they would be shunned and treated as if they did not exist.
As I have thought about this phenomenon, I know that it did not start in 2020 but seemed to gain an enormous amount of sway over many parts of our culture during the past year. People who do not agree with the power brokers of modern culture or who take a stand that is not popular have been “canceled,” sometimes for things that happened years or decades earlier when our culture was very different though not necessarily worse.
Another thing that has stood out in my mind about this word “cancel,” as it is currently being used, is that canceling someone is something that God does not do. Instead of treating people or their actions as beyond the pale and worthy of censure, God looks at us, sees all of our warts, faults and sins and sees people, individuals, whom he loves.
There is nothing that we can do that can remove us from the love, grace and mercy of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Think about the thieves who died on the cross next to Jesus. One continued to berate Jesus while the other called on Jesus to remember him when Jesus came into His kingdom. This man knew that Jesus was about to die just he himself was about to die. Still the man had enough faith in God and Jesus as the Messiah that he believed that the death they were both approaching was not the end of their existence. He believed in the resurrection and that Jesus was going to be the One in whom he and all other people needed to trust.
Think about that when you hear about someone, living or dead, being “canceled” because of something that they did, yesterday or last year, a decade ago or 160 years ago. None of us are exempt from having made mistakes in our lives. Few of can go through a day without some sort of blunder, mistake or sin, yet the God of creation looks at us and says, Come join my family; I will make you better than you thought you could be. Neither your past nor your present will dictate your eternal destiny; that will be decided by the God who loves you.
Trust in what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross, trust in the God who made you and chose to love you. Trust that the One who said He would die and rise again still keeps His promises. The world may tell you that you are not good enough, that you are not essential, that you are too flawed, but Jesus says that you are loved.