Have You Canceled God?
In today’s sermon, we take a look at cancel culture and God. Does God cancel people or have people canceled God?
Have you canceled God? The other day, I happened to come across somebody sharing their thoughts on “cancel culture” in our society. For those who may not be familiar with the term “cancel culture”, it’s essentially the millennial term for boycotting something and never returning to it. This mostly happens nowadays with celebrities (or companies/businesses) that have either said something ignorantly in the present or in the past.
The young woman stated that she was not a big fan of cancel culture. She said, “Imagine God cancelling you because you did or said the wrong thing.” There was, of course, several responses to that statement that argued that God does support cancel culture. Some of the responders responded with examples that they pulled from scripture that I will also use in my sermon.
I want to focus on this idea of cancel culture with God. Does God cancel (permanently leave) people? Or does God not cancel people at all? What is the truth and what does it mean for us?
Does God cancel people?
I want to share with you some of the examples that the responders shared with the young woman. Now, I want to point out to you that many of the responses to her were made sarcastically. The responses were made in a way to show that God is no better than we are because He has canceled (boycotted) folks in the past. It is also an effort to say that there is nothing wrong with cancel culture.
One of the first responses I saw pointed to the great flood of Noah. Another pointed to Sodom and Gomorrah. Then someone asked, “What about Lucifer? Did God not cancel him?” Lastly, someone stated that Christianity is having faith in a God that is going to eventually get around to cancelling folks.
You see, this is our intellect at work, isn’t it? We are very, very smart and witty individuals! Again I tell you that this intellect was being used mockingly and brazenly to try and bash the young woman’s faith in the Lord.
That being said, if we consider our question on whether or not the Lord has canceled people, it would be hard for us to say that He has not. If we take a look at scripture, scripture makes a couple of things very clear to us about God. Firstly: God will cancel people. This is not something that is hidden from us, and the fact is, I have faith in God because I fear the Lord cancelling me!
Example set by the harlot Israelites
In Deuteronomy, the Lord tells Moses (Deut. 31:16) that the children of Israel would “play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land.” (This means they were going to chase after and serve other gods instead of the Lord.) God told Moses (Deut. 31:16) that the children of Israel would “break His covenant” and that His anger would be aroused.
(NOTE: to break the covenant meant breaking a promise to be faith and obedient to the Lord and His Law) So, pay very close attention to what God says next: (Deut. 31:17), “I will forsake (abandon) them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall (will) be devoured (destroyed).” Does that sound like God boycotting anybody? It most definitely does! God has absolutely no shame in admitting that’s exactly what He will do!
God even says that the children of Israel will say, when all sorts of evil come upon them due to their actions, “our God is not among us (Deut. 31:17)”. So, pay close attention, they will only remember God when they find themselves in trouble. When in trouble, they would expect for Him to be there for them, even after they have played the harlot. This is an interesting thought that many people in our society would share with these ancient Israelites. Many folks today will say, mockingly and sarcastically, “God is supposed to be a God of forgiveness.”
Who does God cancel
It is definitely apparent to us that God does indeed cancel somebody. Now, for many of us who are genuine believers, we quickly recognize who it is that the Lord cancels. What I want to do is point out the reason as to why the Lord would cancel somebody. I mentioned three examples that were used in response to the young woman, so what I will do is take a look at each example and show you why they were canceled and what each group had in common.
The great flood victims
Someone mentioned the flood. If you look back to the time of the flood and study that passage of scripture, you will understand that nobody would listen to the Lord except for Noah. (Only Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord – Gen. 6:8). This point is further shown in scripture when we read (Gen. 6:5) that the Lord “saw the wickedness of man was great in the world.”
What is it that makes someone wicked? We would answer that question by saying it depends on their deeds and their actions. Wicked in the Lord’s eyes is anything that goes against His righteousness – disobedience to His way! The people were so wicked in that day that the Lord said (Gen. 6:6) He was “sorry that He had made man on earth.” So, if the people were being wicked, does it sound like they were being obedient and faithful to the Lord or had they canceled God by their disobedience to His way?
Sodom and Gomorrah victims
Someone mentioned Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19). Prior to destroying the two cities, the Lord spoke with Abraham on the matter (Gen. 18:16-33). Abraham even interceded on the two cities’ behalf because his nephew lived in Sodom. He asked God would He destroy those cities if there was righteous people ranging from 10 to 50 in the cities? To which the Lord responded that He would not destroy them for their sakes.
However, when the angels visited the city, they witnessed, again, the terrible wickedness of man (Gen. 19:1-11). The people in the two cities were so wicked that the Lord only saved Lot and his family from the destruction because they were righteous. This is very similar to what happened with Noah and his family during the great flood. (The Lord saved those who were righteous from the destruction of those who were wicked. Do you notice a pattern here?)
Someone, for whatever reason, mentioned the name of Lucifer. The same Lucifer who was the anointed cherub and was on the holy mountain of God (Ezek. 28:14). We live in a culture that continues to do the most to try and sympathize for Satan and for sinners as well. It is a move that continues to baffle me every time I see, but yes, Satan has sympathizers.
Scripture tells us (Ezek. 28:17) that Satan’s heart was lifted up because of his beauty. Yet, in becoming too prideful, he corrupted his wisdom for the sake of his own perceived greatness. Lucifer sought to have a throne above the Lord (Is. 14:13) and in this act he was the first to commit wickedness (sin). So, Lucifer (Satan/the Devil) was wicked (he certainly was not of faith) and through his actions and deeds, he canceled God. God then responded to Lucifer’s actions by casting him out of heaven (Is. 14:12)
What they all have in common
These were not my examples, but the examples that others brought up in response to the young ladies statement. All three of these examples share something in common with the Israelites who would play the harlot that I mentioned earlier. (Recall that the Lord said He would forsake and hide His face from them during their destruction.) All of these people who the Lord “canceled”, were wicked and disobedient to God. They canceled themselves the day when they completely turned from the Lord for their own wickedness.
In “cancel culture”, we say that we cancel those who say something foolish (or disrespectful) or does something foolish and disrespectful. We personally cancel those who wrong us, who mistreat us, and who show us no kind of respect. For us to grow to become better people, there are people that we most definitely have to cancel in our life and there is nothing wrong with that! In our hearts, when people treat us in such a manner, we say, “I’m never dealing with them again.”
Yet, in our society, we believe that God should not cancel anybody no matter how they treat Him. Be disrespectful and disobedient to God your whole life, and God should welcome you through the gates of heaven, right? Mock God and mock faith in the Lord your whole life, but God should still welcome you through the gates of heaven, right? Say that you are better off without the Lord, and be the biggest heathen (devil) you can your whole life, and God should say to you, “No problem. Welcome home, my child.”
Let me tell you something: God is not going to welcome those who were wicked and disobedient into His heavenly kingdom. I cannot paint a rainbow here for you who choose to be disobedient, especially when you know the Lord cancels those who are disobedient. The examples set forth by those in ancient days is not something we should joke about! The idea that God is going to cancel sin and those who are the sons and daughters of sin is no laughing matter!
You are not canceled yet
There are some people who truly believe that the Lord has already canceled (boycotted) them. If you are still living, breathing, and moving about – full of life – God has not canceled you at all. Granted, all of this relies on having faith in His word, but even if you lack faith, Paul wrote (2 Tim. 2:13) “if we are faithless, He (God) is faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”
The nature of God is hope (faith). God is a very hopeful being, especially when it comes to His prized creation – mankind. God has limitless faith in mankind. When you doubt what you can do, God does not doubt you at all. When you fear what you can accomplish, again God does not doubt you. When you have given up on yourself, God has not given up on you at all! Why? Because the Lord is faithful – He cannot deny His nature.
Scripture makes it clear that the Lord will cancel those who are disobedient. However, scripture makes it clear that the Lord is both a forgiving and faithful God. When the Lord created this world, He had great hope for mankind. Of course, we threw away and still throw away such treasure; we fell and still fall to sin today. Yet, God still had hope for mankind and gave the world His only begotten Son (John 3:16). The Lord still hopes that you will recognize the error of your ways and will turn to Him.
Have you canceled God?
The problem that many people face today is that they are like the Israelites who would play the role of the harlot. Our cancel culture of today sees many people choosing to cancel God for other things. Many folks today are chasing after their gods and do not realize just how lost they have become. Some are so lost that they buy completely into whatever it is their gods are selling them so that they do not feel lost anymore. Whether it is power, wealth, “happiness”, worldly knowledge, and worldly wisdom, we are a society and culture that continues to become more secular.
Then, when trouble comes along the way, just like the ancient Israelites, we wonder if God is the cause of our troubles. There are some who believe that their troubles are due to the fact that God has “canceled them”. To be clear: God has not canceled anybody who still has life and an opportunity to turn to Him. We should wonder whether or not it is us who has canceled God. If we choose to boycott God, why should we expect His help? If we boycott God for some other gods, then all we have managed to do is bring trouble on ourselves. We all have the opportunity to let go of our cancel culture of God, repent, and turn back to Him.