Over the last few months, the word “cancel” has been heard more times than I can remember. Young people had graduations cancelled. Youth groups across the country had Lads to Leaders cancelled. Camps, vacations, dentist appointments...cancelled, cancelled, cancelled. Even worship services–either in-person or even all together–were cancelled.
Then, of course, the term leapt into our social world with the so-called “cancel culture.” As political and social unrest have seemingly come in waves, everything from actors to cartoons have been “cancelled.”
It seems as if everything around us has been cancelled in some fashion over the past few months or has threatened to be shut down anyway. Some, in the long run, don’t matter all that much, while others are extremely important.
As the time wears on and the frustrations mount, though, there is one thing we dare not cancel. With the virus, what started off as “a couple of weeks or so” has now turned into months, and now, we are being told that we have no idea how long we’ll be dealing with these shutdowns and confusion. With the “cancel culture,” it seems as if that will be around–at least in fits and starts–for a long time.
And, as those things go on and on, we seem to be growing more and more testy. Our frustrations mount. We are becoming a little more entrenched in our beliefs, and a little more willing to get not bolder, but harsher, in what we say. Our language becomes more accusatory.
But there is one thing missing from that, and it is the one thing we simply cannot cancel.
As we grow more testy, we have to have compassion for those with whom we may disagree. For example, we have to have compassion for those who are angry because people are wanting to get back to normal and on those who are taking this virus a little more seriously than we might think they should. Both have valid arguments, and both are worthy of our respect.
We must have compassion on those who are doing their best to make decisions, from politicians to business leaders to elders to parents. They are trying to continually deal with various ups and downs and conflicting data while trying to make many different people happy. It’s an impossible place to be in, and we need to feel for them.
In what we say and in what we share, does compassion show through, or is it just shared in a way that tries to show that people with whom I disagree are foolish and backward and uncaring? A little compassion, by the way, might help you with your argument, as well as simply be the Christian way to do things.Let’s not cancel compassion. If it was ever needed, it is now.
- Adam Faughn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.orgFrom the Faughn Family blog, A Legacy of Faith.