How Should Christians Engage with Cancel Culture?
The Art of Relationships Podcast - November 30, 2021
Topic: Conflict, Culture, Emotions, Social Media
What is cancel culture? How should Christians respond to the cancel culture in our society today? In this week's podcast, Dr. Chris and Alisa Grace answer these two questions and offer insights on how Christians combat cancel culture with biblical humility, love, and care.
Mandy: Welcome to another Art of Relationships podcast. We are grateful for listeners like you. Let's get right into it.
Alisa Grace: Hey, thanks Mandy. We are so glad to be back with you guys here on the podcast. Today we have a great topic we're going to be talking about. Chris, that topic is cancel culture. What is cancel culture and what should our response as Christians be to it?
Chris Grace: Yeah. Thanks Alisa. Yeah. It is such a good topic. I think it affects relationships in a lot of ways because it's very similar to what we would usually call... Well, there are technical names for it. Like ostracism. If you ostracize somebody, what you're doing, right? Is you're taking and saying you are no longer part of our circles and people have been doing this for a long time. I mean, as a matter of fact, we have in groups and out groups. So social psychologists always studied what's called in group behavior and out group behavior. How do we view ourselves, the in group and how do we view the out group?
Now what's fascinating is ostracism call out culture or cancel culture is not new. Everybody thinks, "Oh, this is new," but it's not new. It's been around for as long as humans have been. Why? Because it's easier for us to identify ourselves as part of an in group/out group. And the out group tends to, the further away we are from them, they tend to become a little bit more stereotyped. Or we tend to put bad negative opinions or behaviors toward them or attitudes. In fact, we dehumanize them. I mean, ostracized means you are not good enough to be part of our group.
Alisa Grace: Oh, I love that. Well, I don't love that, but yeah, I love that. So if this has been around for such a long time, Chris, then why is this all of a sudden become like a big phrase, a bigger part of our culture? What's the difference?
Chris Grace: Well, think about it in terms of its historical context and then we can under stand it today. The difference of course today is the speed at which I can ostracize different groups. I can cancel all kinds of different people quicker in large and in bigger categories using social media now. So the whole difference is social media, right? I mean, think about when, when you ostracize or you are ostracized. I'm sure all of us have at some point been on the out. There's a fun group and now you're not. There's this group that's cool.
Alisa Grace: The popular.
Chris Grace: Yeah. The feelings that you have, "Ah, what happened? Or, "Why did that happen?" Oftentimes it's not ever spoken. In the past, you just feel it or know it. I felt really bad. There was one girl who was ostracized from our entire group for making a mistake of dating somebody outside of our class. So this freshman class in high school was really kind of cohesive and everything. But one girl made the mistake of turning down somebody in our class. She was a cheerleader and dating somebody that was a junior. Well, she was ostracized. Now I never understood it. Because everybody would go around saying, "Don't talk to her," or they didn't even have to say it. You just knew it.
Alisa Grace: You weren't the one she turned down, were you?
Chris Grace: No, I actually wasn't. I didn't do anything.
Alisa Grace: You never experienced that, did you? That's the truth of the matter, Chris and the cheerleaders.
Chris Grace: Yeah. That's a different podcast. No, no. But I really felt bad and I really wanted to be friends with her, but I remember feeling the pressure to not hang out with this person or talk with them. It was so sad to see it. It lasted a couple of months, and I think people in general feel the need to belong, and they want to be part of this group and it's a sense of belonging.
Alisa Grace: That's why it's so effective.
Chris Grace: Right.
Alisa Grace: Right? That's why it's so effective and terms of getting other people on board with your ideas, with your opinions. But I guess really my question is, is it really effective in changing opinion from a social psychology point of view? Does this form of cancel if you're the victim of it or the recipient of it, does it really change your view when you've been ostracized or does it serve more that people just become afraid to speak their mind and they just don't say it? But deep down they don't really change their view.
Chris Grace: Well, yeah. The answer is, from social research, especially in social psychology is pretty straightforward. Right? Any form of trying to ostracize another person, this form of punishment. Even within parenting, there's kind of this idea, not of ostracizing, but of punishing bad behavior. We kind of separate the person out. We take them out of the situation. Right? You put them in a timeout.
Alisa Grace: A social timeout.
Chris Grace: Yeah. Social timeout. We use timeouts all the time with kids, and it works really well. Some kids hate it. They just want to be part of it. We had one of our kids, she hates being in timeout because it simply was being away from people.
Alisa Grace: She couldn't say. It was so effect for her. The other one, well, she would just scream bloody murder because that social separation. Then we had another one, our son, he was such an introvert that he actually liked being separated. He would be back on his bed, hanging out for like 30 minutes and [crosstalk]
Chris Grace: Well, I came home one day-
Alisa Grace: Where is he?
Chris Grace: Yeah. I came home one day, and I said to Alisa, I said, "Hey, Alisa, remember this." All the kids there and I go, "Where's Drew?" She goes, "I don't know. He's been around here." She goes-
Alisa Grace: Oh my gosh. I forgot.
Chris Grace: "Oh wait. I put in him timeout like an hour ago." I go back into the room.
Alisa Grace: It's been three days. I haven't seen him since then. You go back there and he's totally happy.
Chris Grace: Yeah. It doesn't bother him.
Alisa Grace: No.
Chris Grace: So we knew at that point-
Alisa Grace: It was not effective.
Chris Grace: We'll no longer use timeouts with that boy. In fact, the only thing that was effective with him was taking money away from him. He would earn all this money. In fact, he had so much money when he was six years old that he had earned that I used to take loans from him. He's like, "Okay, dad, I'll lend you 10, but you're going to pay me back at 11 next week if you don't get it on time." So I took money from him. We both did. That was effective. The other ones, however, ostracizing them or what we would now call cancel cultures. Look what you're trying to do. The word cancel means you're trying to stop a behavior. That's a form of punishment. Well, guess what?
Punishment is never effective. Even with parenting when we punish, usually we think of physical or corporal punishment, not as effective as doing other things. So there are way better ways doing this. So the short answer to your question, Alisa, I think is this. Forms of punishment that take the style of, let's say, putting somebody out or calling out their behavior and then saying you will no longer be part of, we won't listen to you, we're going to cut off your Twitter feed. We're not going to go to your movies. We're going to cancel everything you do, everything you say, we're going to-
Alisa Grace: We're going to tell your employer, and you're going to be fired. Yeah.
Chris Grace: Well, those forms of punishment usually are not met very kindly by the person. They don't go, "Oh wow. I really want to be part of that group. So I'm going to change my behavior." I think it emboldens. It harms them in some ways, right? Because people can lose their livelihood. They may not make as much profit on whatever they're doing because people are canceling them. So I think Alisa, it's not going to change people's behavior. What it does, I think, however, this mob mentality begins, "Oh, they're out group, out group, out group." We scream to them. At the end of the day, it's usually extremely ineffective though it makes the people who are doing the canceling, it makes them feel better in a sad way because they believe they're removing something toxic. But what do you think?
Alisa Grace: Well, it's really interesting because the Pew Group did a study on cancer culture. Actually what they did is, let me see if I can remember. They went back and they viewed or studied-
Chris Grace: Surveyed, yeah.
Alisa Grace: Like 10,000 people, over 10,000 people about their views of cancel culture. They did this back in September, just about a year ago. Wasn't very long. What they found is that different groups had a different definition in meaning assigned to the term cancel culture. So where one group felt like it was a form of punishment, that ostracism. It was a form of punishment.
Other people, it was very interesting. In fact, a significant portion of the group found it or viewed it in a more positive light. In fact, they said, they would see it as moving toward a better society or educating others on their mistakes so they can do better in the future. Then they also saw it as a way to hold controversial people accountable for what they post or to make sure that people consider the consequences of what they're posting on social media. So the focus for this particular group wasn't so much the punishment aspect, but their motivation really was more on making sure that people feel comfortable and safe on social media regarding the content that some people may find offensive. So what's your response to that?
Chris Grace: Yeah. Well, and let's just cut to the chase. I would imagine, and I think I remember reading this article, Alisa, on Pew Research. Democrats who lean more left tended to see cancel culture as a form of teaching and telling others, "You have bad opinions."
Alisa Grace: You've crossed a line.
Chris Grace: "You've crossed a line and we're going to hold you accountable for saying something that we don't agree with."
Alisa Grace: Or something that is bad.
Chris Grace: Okay. I would say left leaning, more Democratic individuals-
Alisa Grace: That's what the Pew Research showed, yeah.
Chris Grace: ... would say that they would view it in more of terms that say, "Hey, we're going to hold you accountable for your bad behavior, your wrong behavior. You're no longer going to get away with this." I would suspect in this culture today and Alisa, the Republicans and right leaning people see it differently.
Alisa Grace: Right. They, they found in the Pew Research that Republicans tended to see it more as a form of unjust punishment, that the other side was being rash or judgemental in their assessment of it. Overreaching. Some of it even saw it as the danger of it was that it could lead to something more sinister, like stalking or the doxxing, revealing where people live, where they work and that you go and call them out and the fear that it could lead to violence, or even a form of free speech issue for them.
Chris Grace: Yeah. So we could see both sides of this, right? I mean, if somebody's doing something. Let's ignore the fact that social media now can explode into massive numbers. It could reach people on that are in your in group to now go out and cancel somebody in wide ranging places. So I can cancel somebody that's in Augusta, Georgia, and I could bring it out. Then people in Augusta, Georgia are now aware of something that, "Oh my gosh, this neighbor holds this horrible view. Let's go expose them and show the world. You can no longer hold this horrible view, Mr. Or Mrs. Smith. The way you do your view is wrong, and we're going to hold you accountable." Right?
Okay. The problem, I think in this day and age, Alisa, is that we no longer are isolated in terms of our reach socially. In the past, it would be a high school kid that maybe wore the wrong shoes or acted the wrong way, or believed something, or was holding an opinion that was wrong. People would be able to him personally and say, "Hey, bud." Or they would just ignore him. Or they'd just say, "He's just a strange conservative," or "He's just the strange liberal," or whatever. We would stereotype, push him aside, even if they were wrong. You deal with it that way.
Now the consequences, as you said, Alisa, are so much greater. By the way, whether you lean left or lean right on this, I'm just going to tell you as a social psychologist, there is a lot of troubling things. Let's take what's troubling for me. Let's take it from the Democrat's side. I think for Democrats that lean left, I think the problem is, and I'll just use you, and I'll say the same thing for conservatives. I think for Democrats, they're going to have to learn that people can hold different opinions. What you believe is right or wrong doesn't necessarily mean it's right or wrong. It means you believe it is. Now-
Alisa Grace: That's a great point, Chris. I think though what you're trying to say is that something that you find offensive, I may not find offensive. So if we're calling people out on something that we find offensive, well that can be a lot of shades of gray in there.
Chris Grace: Yes. That's a right. Okay. Here, Alisa, here's a funny story. That's exactly right. Finally, who's to arbitrate what is right or wrong? Just because I hold a view that has some people doing something that I believe is immoral or unbiblical and their behavior isn't what I would approve of because I get my beliefs from, let's say, God's word. Let's say God created male and female. Right? Okay. Well, you talk about controversy, but what if I believe that? I say, "Well, okay, who's right and who's wrong?" I'm going to just have to end up going to some source of authority. In this case, I'll go to, let's say, God's word. Or I'll go to the science behind this, or I'll go to the expert opinions, or I'll go to the politicians. You go some place for your authority,
Alisa Grace: Social influencers. Some of these celebrities.
Chris Grace: They would say, "If you hold this position, you are morally repugnant. You're bad." So I think it points to this. How and who is your authority by which you can tell somebody else they are wrong and they shouldn't hold this? And you're harmful or hurtful. Again, I think that's kind of taking a very strong opinion of yourself and your beliefs if you're trying to correct somebody else. "Oh, but they're hurtful." Well, okay. Then tune them out. Then don't listen to them. Then don't watch them. "Oh, but they reach a lot of people." Well, so what? They probably reach people that like what they like. "Well, but they're harmful." According to who? Right? So that's I think the negative.
By the way, when we point, Alisa, I think in general, we are always to fall back on something called authority. Who is it? They did this great study. Check this out. They put people blindfolded in a field and they had them walk, and they asked them to walk as straight as possible. There were no sign. No mountains, or they couldn't see the sun or the moon. They just walked, man. Guess what people do? Well, they've been doing this since the early 1900s. Go look it up. Everybody that's blindfolded that is told to walk in a straight line actually walk in circles. That is, they start walking. They believe they're walking straight and after about...
Okay, so I have a class, and I demonstrated it today in class. You can go to YouTube and watch my lectures if you want and see this it's on Sensation. We have 23 rows of seats in this auditorium, and there's a straight aisle right up the middle, right? You have about what? Maybe eight feet room. This aisle eight feet wide. So you can walk straight. And how long? One row, two, three, all the way up to 23. When they hit the door before they start to curve. Well, guess what? Almost everybody thought, "Oh, they can make it maybe to twenties or..." This student today made it to the 10th row before they ran into the row.
Alisa Grace: Oh, wow.
Chris Grace: So they're blindfolded, they're walking straight, and they make 10 rows. Then they start to turn to the right every time. Now she did it a second time. She started to correct to the left, and she made it about nine rows. Okay? Here's the answer for me when it comes to walking straight. If we give you an external sign of something out there, a marker, a place you're going.
Alisa Grace: A focal point.
Chris Grace: A focal point.
Alisa Grace: A North Star.
Chris Grace: Then people can go straight. So with what you believe, what's your North Star? Do you have a North Star? Do you believe there is some right or wrong in this world? If you do, that is usually a gauge by which I hold, but also the way I interpret it. So some people say, "Yeah, but you're very hurtful when you hold this view." Yeah. Okay. So who calls them out? Should it be their parent, their spouse, their small group, the people around them, social media? Many people think it's going to be us, the social media people, the canceled people. Were going to go cancel them because they're being inappropriate.
Alisa Grace: Wow, that was a great analogy about trying to walk in that straight line. You've got to have something bigger than yourself that is that North Star. Something that is unchanging, like the Word of God. Right? So let's think about it because I think to balance that perspective too, is that... There's a saying that really became very popular in World War II or following World War II, and it's this. That the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to stand by and do nothing. So in instances of, let's say, racism or misogyny, or just, I don't know. Just whatever those hot topics are today. There is a point. I mean, it could be on the gender issues. It could be on gun rights, it could be on abortion. There's a point where good people have to stand up for what is right.
So I guess my question is, and maybe you answered it is it comes down to, how do we determine what is right? Who is that great arbiter, you asked. So let's think about and maybe talk about for just a minute, what is a Christian response to the cancel culture? I think the two extremes that we really have to be careful of is that we can take the otherwise legitimate concepts of reputation, respect, community, and we can revert to an unbiblically extreme kind of honor/shame approach and shame somebody into changing their behavior. Versus the other extreme would be that we just stand by and we fail to defend right from wrong. So how do we avoid those two extremes and find the way down the middle, the biblical way, the Christ-like way?
Chris Grace: Well, okay. Alisa, I don't know if this answers your question. But to me it kind of comes down to who's your community? So I think to answer your question, I go to who is around me? Who's speaking into my life? Who's life am I speaking into? Am I part of a community? And can I influence them for good? So to try and get at somebody's behavior that I think is wrong or bad, who's speaking out on a political level in some county far away from me, and I don't like their views. That they're trying to stop this or prevent this. I think they're doing more harm. The question is, first of all, is it effective? Will it work? But second of all, as a believer, what do I believe is my community? Who's around me? Who can I really influence?
If I call somebody out far away, and they're just a stranger, and they don't know me, and I want everybody to know how bad they are. I don't know. Is there any good that results? Maybe I feel better about it. But my opinion is, I'm not quite sure it's effective unless it comes from somebody that is meaningful, that we allow to speak into our lives. So for a lot of people, if somebody calls me out and they're a complete stranger, frankly, I might even hold it as a badge of honor, let alone, right? I mean, who cares what you said? Now, if somebody that's meaningful to me-
Alisa Grace: Good point.
Chris Grace: ... that I admire or look up to calls me out or sits me down. So one time I borrowed this guy's car, and I took a couple of friends. We went all the way from Colorado up to Montana, and he lent us his car. He was an older guy, really godly man. It was really cool. We took his car, went all the way up to Montana, went and saw some friends. I don't remember what we did. We just needed a ride, brought it back. I dropped it off and I said, "Oh, thank you so much. It was so awesome." Blah, blah, blah. And I get a call the next day. He says, "Hey, Chris, can I talk to you?" I'm like, "Yeah, sure." He goes, "The car. How did it go?" I go, "Oh, it went great." He goes, "Did you enjoy it?"
"Yeah. Huh?" He goes, "Chris, can I just tell you something? You returned my car after I lent it to you, it was dirty. I mean, there were bugs all over the windshield." Blah, blah, blah.
I went, "Oh."
"You left a couple of wrappers and papers on the inside." I went, "Oh."
"And you kind of left it with just about a quarter tank of gas. Now because it's my car, it's really hard to tell you something, but I'm just going to tell you. I think it would serve you well if you do borrow something that you return it in better shape, like maybe clean the car and wash it. In fact, put gas in it and leave it full. That's a great way of express and gratitude." I remember it was hard for him to say this.
Alisa Grace: I bet.
Chris Grace: But he was an important person in my life, and I never forgot that. So when somebody is in our lives that we allow to speak and they tell us about our behavior is off or wrong or different. They move from this parent from when we're young, we now want to listen to somebody else. I think that's effective.
Alisa Grace: Yeah. I think what you just demonstrated right there with that story, Chris, is the principle of Ephesians 4:15. That we are told to speak the truth, but to do it in love, right? To consider even Proverbs 18:21, that the power of life and death are in the tongue. So what that man did is he didn't shame you. He didn't view it as a way to punish you. But instead it was a way to restore you. That ultimate motivation is what really made a difference in his approach with you, that it enabled you because you didn't feel attacked. But he came at you with love, but speaking the truth also, that you were able to receive it and that it actually made an impact and at that point changed your behavior.
Chris Grace: It did. Here's the thing that was different than ostracizing me. He could have canceled me. He could have said, "What a rotten thing you did. I'll never give you this car again. Hey, by the way, buddies, if Chris ever wants to borrow a car, don't let him. We got to stop his behavior." He could have tried to punish me. Okay, punishment in psychology we know it's not as effective when we do it as is this ability to honor the other person, to talk to them in a way that still honors and respects them and says, "Listen, I don't agree with what you did," or "I don't agree with your views, but I know you're a good person," or "I know you have the potential. You are a human. You have the ability, but just because I love you so deeply." He spoke truth in love. I think Alisa, that's exactly the difference. Now, how do we do that at a distance as Christians?
Alisa Grace: It's hard.
Chris Grace: How do we call out somebody? Here's my other thought. Are you the appropriate one? Are you now considering yourself to be junior Holy Spirit? And you're going to go around and correct everybody's bad behavior that's online because somebody has to do it, and I'm not going to stand by, and I'm not going to sit and watch this. I'm going to stand up and tell them when they're wrong. Like, wow. I think you're kind of opening yourself up to a little bit of maybe being a target if we do that all the time. Because I would say, let's look at our own self before we call out others. Then I would do it in the community and think about who is that in my life? Versus complete strangers out there. I don't know.
Alisa Grace: Yeah. I think another point we've got to keep in mind is that we've got to approach it with spirit of humility.
Chris Grace: That's good. Yeah.
Alisa Grace: Biblical humility. That's the assumption that I am not infallible. I may very well be wrong about this. I don't think that I am, but I at least want to to hold the attitude of, "Hey, you know what? I could be wrong about this." I could maybe be misunderstanding what it is that you're actually saying. So I want to make sure that before I call you out, that I'm not being just as guilty by jumping the gun or by just taking a small amount of facts or maybe misinterpreting facts. I want to leave room that, "Hey, you know what? Maybe I'm wrong about this, Chris. It seems like you let you brought the car back in worse shape than how you received it." So it' that spirit of humility I think is important.
Chris Grace: No, I love that, Alisa. So I mean, you talked about this speaking truth with love, right? Like you said, love, it doesn't deny the truth. It doesn't deny what's true.
Alisa Grace: Even when that truth doesn't feel good.
Chris Grace: That's right. That's right. Ephesians, I think you pointed that out. Also this idea of humility. It's also about listening too, right? I mean, one of the things that cancel culture really bothers me is the fact that I think a Christian response, we need to be very careful to understand what does it mean to listen? Proverbs talks a lot about the power of life and death is in the tongue. Right? And to listen first is important. In fact, what is Proverbs 18:13? Proverbs, there's all kinds of cool things, right, Alisa? That one is-
Alisa Grace: To speak before listening is folly and shame.
Chris Grace: Yeah. So what does that mean for us? Do we really know the other person and are we called to influence them and change their hearts and who we are and have we listened? Have we paid attention? A lot of people say "I have, and you could read what they're tweeting and read what they're saying and look how dangerous and wrong they are." Again, that's where we got to pause and say, "Hold on here. Am I understanding their perspective? Am I called into being community with them? Am I called to speak? Am I speaking truth in love?" Right. Then approach it with humility. What else Alisa?
Alisa Grace: Absolutely. Like I was saying, I think we've just got to really make sure that we've studied the facts on our own before we speak out on it. That we've studied the facts. We're not just taking someone else's word for it, but that we've actually done our own homework on that you in order to speak out on it.
Chris Grace: Yeah. So if you have a friend or maybe somebody that you kind of know, maybe somebody who's out there and they're speaking and saying some things. Alisa, I think what you're saying is, obviously we start with listening, taking their perspective, figuring out. We gather the facts. We do it with humility. That takes a little bit of time. Maybe we misunderstood them. I had somebody call me out one time who took an analogy I used in a talk that was recorded and wrote basically an article and quoted without my name in there. Well, it was cancel culture. T.
Alisa Grace: I remember that.
Chris Grace: This was many years ago. It wasn't on social media. So I called this person up. I said, "Hey man, could I go out to coffee with you?" This person agreed. So we went to coffee, and you could tell they were uncomfortable. But I said, "Listen, you wrote an article, you quoted a lot of the things I said, and I do you mind if we have an opportunity? If I could, first of all, hear what you were thinking. Then one thing that would bothered me is that you never really asked to me. You never talked to me first, and you assume to the worst. I would like to talk to you. What does it mean to assume the worst versus assume the best? By the way, at the end of the coffee, she did apologize and say, "Listen, you know what? I did. I heard this quote, I didn't listen to the rest. Now I see the context. We may disagree on a number of things, but I did misrepresent this." I was like, "Oh, that's good. Yeah. I appreciate that."
Alisa Grace: Wow.
Chris Grace: In fact, I think the feelings of not liking this other person and maybe her not liking me were eased a little bit. I think there was kind of like a respect that was starting to form. Like, okay, next time I'm going to go to this person and ask them what they think and what they meant and what the context was and take that into account.
Alisa Grace: I love that. I love that approach. I think when we get right down to it, Chris, and you mentioned it just a few minutes ago, is the bottom line. No matter what our view is, our ultimate arbiter has to be the Lord. Has to be God's word. We continually have to go back and check our views, our attitudes, our beliefs, our opinions against His infallible word. What does the Bible have to say about this? I think we have to be willing, if our view doesn't align with that, and we've got to be really honest with ourselves as we examine our own hearts. If my view does not align with what God's word said, I have to be very careful that I'm not changing God's word to fit my views. But instead that I'm willing to come under the authority of God's Word and to change my view to align with God's Word.
Chris Grace: Yeah, and not the other way around, right? I think, Alisa, that here then is the rub. You need to spend time then in knowing God's Word. You sit yourself under people. If you don't know the Bible, you need to start reading it on a regular basis. If there are controversial passage, you need to go look it up and talk to people who have studied this. There are experts who go, "Listen, I've been studying this for 25 years. This passage or word, I know. Here's what it meant, and here's the context."
The rub is we better start understanding that North Star and following it. If we're going to walk in a straight line, tap to the right, tap to the left, we need people who can speak into our life, but who also have a maybe deeper understanding than we do. That's what a lot of pastors do and a lot of teachers of God's Word. That's why I love education at places like Biola because you have faculty here who study just a single book, and they're experts at it. If I have a question on John, I'm going to go to Dr. Matt Williams and ask him about the Book of John and say, "Can you tell me about this passage? What does he mean when he says we are the fruit? Or we are the vine."
Alisa Grace: If you want to talk about grace, you're going to go to Dr. Joanne Jung. Yeah. Or Dr. John Lundy. Because they are experts in that area.
Chris Grace: Yeah, and learn about it and figure it out. What is racism? What is when we stereotype other people? What does the Bible say about sexuality and our views? People that have been there and studied it more, that's where humility comes in. I think we do that. Then Alisa, you always use the three P's, pause, pray and proceed. Those are really important.
Alisa Grace: Yeah. I would say, yeah. If you feel that you are really being called to speak up, first of all, I would say, take your time in formulating your response. You never want to just be like, "Oh, I can't believe that person said that. That is so wrong." Then here, I'm just going to sit down and fire off this post about it. You want to pause, you want to pray about it, ask the Lord's opinion. You want to examine your own heart. Then if you still feel that the Lord is calling you to respond because good people don't want to stand by and do nothing in the face of evil. Right? So we want to be able to speak up, but speak the truth with love. We do it with respect, with kindness, with humility, gentleness, with love, and with the motivation, bottom line, that motivation in our heart has to be to restore the individual, not to punish.
Chris Grace: Yeah. Alisa, I think that whole idea then of restoring and not punishing is really important. I think if I had to end this with anything, I'd end with this one particular verse, and I think it's Matthew 7:3. I think Jesus anticipated the cancel culture, this idea of ostracizing and the heart and spirit behind it in Matthew. Here's what he said. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" So why do we worry about what we see as a speck in our brother's eye, but we don't notice the log that is in our own eye? I think, Alisa, that particular verse anticipated this in the 2000 years in the future, that it's easy for me to see specs in other people's eyes. But I oftentimes miss the log in our own.
Alisa Grace: Gosh, I think that's so true. I think there are really legitimate times as believers that we need to speak up. There are times that oppression is occurring, that sin is happening. Marginalization of people that have no voice in situations that we need to speak up and that we're called to do that. I mean the Old Testament and Jesus is just replete with taking care of those on the margin, the widow and the orphan.
Chris Grace: And the orphan.
Alisa Grace: But the point is to do it with humility and love and care, not with the anger as the root of it.
Chris Grace: Well, it's been fun to talk about this. Thanks for bringing up this topic of cancel culture and it's been good.
Alisa Grace: Okay. Thanks, Chris.
Chris Grace: Okay. [inaudible] it. Bye.
Mandy: Thanks for listening to the Art of Relationships. This podcast is only made possible through generous donations from listeners just like you. If you like it and want to help keep the podcast going, visit our website at cmr.biola.edu and make a donation today.
The Art of Relationships Podcast
The Art of Relationships podcast, hosted by Dr. Chris and Alisa Grace, is centered on helping you build healthy relationships and marriages. In this podcast, Dr. Chris Grace and Alisa Grace weigh in on how to navigate the complexities of relationships in our culture with biblical wisdom and scholarly research. Listen to get practical insights on relationships, dating, and marriage.