Cancel Culture

Roots + Wings with Rory Feek


In the last decade or so, there’s been story after story of celebrities and influential people, along with regular everyday folks, who have been “canceled.” You can hardly go a week without hearing in the news about someone who, no matter what their life was before—what good they may have done in the long or short life they’ve lived so far—has been caught in a lie, or some facts about his or her past have been revealed, and all that they’ve done or been is suddenly null and void… replaced, it seems, by an unforgivable sin or story that now becomes the sum total of their life.

“You can hardly go a week without hearing in the news about someone who has been caught in a lie or some facts about his or her past have been revealed, and they’ve been ‘canceled’…”

I’ve watched this happen again and again and seen the damage it does, not only to the people who have often made a mistake or struggled with something that they couldn’t get a grip on—but also to people who may not have done anything wrong at all, or the facts haven’t been checked before the story is spread. Either way, they are judged guilty by the media, mostly by a rapid viral-spreading on social media, until proven innocent. And, if and when that happens, and they’ve made reparations, or the truth has been revealed, the news has often moved on to the next attention-grabbing headline, and the real story never gets through.

I can’t help but wonder what if, instead of being a “cancel culture,” where we’re so quick to condemn and forget any good thing anyone has ever done, we were a “redemption culture,” where our first thought was of their pain, of their struggle, and were quick to forgive and believe in the hope of their tomorrow.

What would happen if the most virally spread news stories, the things that caught and kept our attention, were stories of people who have made mistakes in the past and are working hard to become new? If our concentration was on the good that people are doing, in spite of the missteps or bad choices they’ve made in the past. What if our focus was on tagging someone redeemed and worthy rather than canceled and unworthy?

I’m not saying there aren’t some horrendous things that have been discovered about people or that damage hasn’t been done that should be accounted for. I just think as a culture, especially for us as Christians, we should remember that Jesus was all about repentance and redemption. It’s why He came and why He died. To take away the stains of our sin and make our hearts pure and white as the snow. When I became a Christian, every single mistake, bad choice, or wrong turn I ever made was forgiven in an instant. I was no longer defined by what I did, or who I was, but instead by who I am now, and who He’s going to make me into in the future. Ironically, God’s message is exactly the opposite of the message our cancel-culture sends.


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Rory Feek is a world-class storyteller, songwriter, filmmaker, and New York Times best-selling author. As a musical artist, Rory is one-half of the Grammy-award-winning duo, Joey+Rory. He and his wife, Joey, toured the world and sold nearly a million records, before her untimely passing in March 2016.


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