Do you remember when McDonald’s used to have an advertising ditty that included the words, “You deserve a break today?” I’m old enough to remember when Calgon bubble bath used to advertise with a tag line, “Calgon, take me away!” Marketing firms are keen observers of the human condition and they masterfully exploit our deep desires to influence us to buy their wares. But buried in these ad campaigns is a picture of a deep human need—a break, mercy, grace, destressing, relaxing, enjoying, and recovering. For our purposes here we are going to call it the mercy principle.

There is so much conflict and chaos around us these days that it is very easy to get overwhelmed and vexed. And to make matters worse, there are self-appointed watchdogs prowling about to catch anyone in an indiscretion of non-conformity with the politically correct hyper narrative. If you misspeak, support an opinion that is in disfavor, or oppose some sacrosanct worldview, the cancellers will unmake you with neither justice nor mercy. Before I go any further, I want to state that I do believe that bad actions need to face accountability, but I also believe that, as Scripture says in James 2:13, “mercy triumphs over judgement.” But because the cancellers will not tolerate anyone or anything that does not fit their preferred worldview, they mete out judgement that is merciless and unforgiving. No path of restitution or restoration is offered. Cancel culture is the ultimate expression of hatred because it destroys people’s lives with no desire to help or improve the person who has transgressed the canceller’s edicts.

There is another interesting thing about each of us human beings. We are often much more willing to give ourselves a break, to be merciful toward our mistakes, and to be desirous of a path toward restitution for ourselves than we are disposed to be toward giving such graces to others when they err. So, when someone does something that we deem wrong, especially when it is based on opposing opinions and we want to cast them aside and treat them as if they no longer exist or matter, we play at being God: an unloving, unholy, unjust, and unmerciful hideous parody of God. The real God is greatly displeased when we punish without mercy, judge with partiality, and offer no forgiveness or path to restoration. And I submit to you that the cancel culture we are seeing emerge in these times is doing exactly what I have described. Be careful not to get pulled along with them in their unrighteous wrath. It might be helpful for me to cite James 2:13 New Living Translation here: “There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.”

It seems to me that we would all do well to remember that whether we deserve a break today, we all need mercy, grace, forgiveness, and hope of restoration many, many times throughout our lives. How wrong it would be to know our need for these things and deny them to others. When God stands each person before His judgement seat, He is going to do everything possible to give them grace and mercy, but because He knows all things and is utterly righteous and holy, when He does issue judgement, no matter how light or how heavy, it will be exactly right. He can see what we cannot, yet many times people play at being God in judging others. I’m inviting you to be part of a mercy culture instead of a cancel culture. Mercy triumphs over judgment because mercy still reckons with the wrong act committed but exerts itself to reform the wrong-doer A good rule of thumb is this: whenever someone wants to stoke your outrage, do not follow their path but when someone calls upon you to show the love of God in righteousness, that is the worthy path. In these perilous times, may the grace of Jesus Christ be your hearth and home! The Lord bless you!

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