Jesus Wants Me to Cancel Me
“If any want to become my followers, they must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me. Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” – Matthew 16:24-25
Some decry so-called “cancel culture” as an intolerant form of public shaming that aims to ban people and erase history. “Those statue-toppling radicals are going too far! Where does it all end?!”
Let’s take a breath. No one has the power to ban a human being or erase history. That is going too far. Let’s also acknowledge that lots of histories and her-stories have been erased or sidelined by the idol of white male imperialism.
I believe Jesus would say cancel culture has not gone far enough. Jesus not only wants me to call out bad behavior from public figures, as he routinely did; Jesus wants me to cancel me: “If any want to become my followers, they must cancel themselves, take up their cross and follow.”
Was Jesus talking about banning or erasing ourselves from existence? Of course not. He was talking about canceling my impatience with the dog, toppling my snippiness with the kids, defacing my implicit biases and rash judgments … in short, he was talking about canceling my ego.
Canceling the ego is a heavy, daily cross to carry, but the alternative is for the ego to carry me.
Jesus, give me moral courage to cancel all the false and harmful idols in me.
Matt Laney is the Senior Pastor of Virginia Highland Church UCC in Atlanta, GA and the author of Pride Wars, a fantasy series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers. The first two books, The Spinner Prince and The Four Guardians are available now.