Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once said, "If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being."
Every day in our cities, we are witnessing social justice advocates toppling statues and cancelling those who have had sin in their past. It is quite a sight to behold and reminds me somewhat of actions taken during the Chinese cultural revolution (1966-1976). Last night some rioters burned the 120-year-old Thompson Elk statue in downtown Portland, where I live. I am still trying to figure out what the elk did to anybody. Others in my city have toppled a Thomas Jefferson statue. Some Hollywood stars have been cancelled because of various racially insensitive things they have done in their past.
Do these people (living and dead) justly deserve to be cancelled? Absolutely.... But so do I. In fact, I deserve it more than most. And if we all think about it, who among us is without any sin worth being cancelled over? Consider when the Pharisees caught a woman in sin and took her to Jesus to ask what might be done to her. Jesus answered, 'Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her'...when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”" (John 8:7=10)
The self-righteous are blinded to their own need for mercy and many of today's critical theorists appear to have fully embraced the worldview of the Pharisees, thinking themselves righteous enough to take justice into their own hands. Such is to erroneously conclude that all the sinners in the world are OUT THERE, and if we just rid the world of them, us righteous people would make a better world. But this is frankly, a misapprehension of human nature. We can't escape ourselves and the seed of evil exists in every one of us. So we need to understand that the problem with the world begins with me. We all are guilty of sin against a holy God and against one another. Because of this we all desperately are in need of redemption.
That is where the good news comes in. God, far from cancelling sinners like me, has sent his Son, Jesus Christ in time space history to take upon himself the just "cancellation" sinners like me justly deserve. The Apostle declared, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom 5:9). And Paul said of himself, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst." (1 Ti 1:15) O, He is a merciful God. He can forgive all kinds of sinners: the greedy, the sexually immoral, racists, and even self-righteous people. Come to Jesus, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and he will give rest to your souls. He not only forgives our sins, but unites us to Himself, and begins working in us that which is good. Only the gospel can reconcile the world to God and to one another. Jesus "ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation." (Rev. 5:9)