We are very quick to cancel people. Even celebrities that died long ago are not safe. Cancel culture is nothing new. There is a story about a man named Zacchaeus who lived in a Palestinian city called Jericho around 30 C.E. Zacchaeus was a wealthy tax collector; the chief tax collector to be exact. The citizens perceived tax collectors as greedy, collaborators with the Roman government. Therefore, by Zacchaeus being a tax collector, he was helping to oppress his own people. He was a traitor, a literal sell-out! Therefore, the community cancelled him. Ironically, in Greek, Zacchaeus means “pure.”

Even though Zacchaeus had become very wealthy and wielded much power, he was still unfulfilled. He needed his community. One day, an influential religious leader came to town and served as a mediator between Zacchaeus and the community. He reminded both parties that Zacchaeus is still part of the family, regardless of what he had done.[1] As a result, Zacchaeus repented of his ways and offered to repair the wrong he had done to his people. The process of reconciliation had begun.

Being human is complicated. We all have the potential for great good and evil. At some point, we will all be the villain in somebody’s story, especially if you are in leadership. If we keep cancelling people at this present rate, who can stand? Instead cancelling people, we should be working on reconciliation. We can lovingly hold our family members accountable for their errors in judgement without excommunicating them. Afterall, does cancellation really help or does it create deeper resentments?

We will all be villains in somebody’s story; deservingly and undeservingly. I suggest when it comes to cancel culture, we treat others the way we want to be treated rather than how we think they should be treated.[2] Afterall, you could be next on the chopping block.

[1] Luke 19:9

[2] Matthew 7:12