First off, let's look at the definition for cancel culture. According to Merriam-Webster, cancel culture "refers to the mass withdrawal of support from public figures or celebrities who have done things that aren't socially accepted today. This practice of 'canceling' or mass shaming often occurs on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook." When something is "cancelled," it involves "destroying the force, effectiveness, or validity of something." The other words often used are "annul, destroy, or bring to a place of nothingness."
From this definition, we can see that cancel culture is a toxic behavior. I've said it before and will say it again - hurting people hurt people. This is how bullying begins. Why? Because people minimally value themselves when they don't understand their true identity. Subconsciously, they "attack" others to make themselves feel better.
Now, let's explore the definition of verbal abuse for a comparison to cancel culture. The definition of verbal abuse, according to Merriam-Webster, is quite simple - it's "harsh or insulting language directed at a person." Since that definition is broad, CLICK HERE to see a further explanation of the various behaviors associated with verbal abuse from one of my sister websites (freefromverbalabuse.net). Having lived through an abusive marriage I understand first-hand how abuse starts with words and escalates from there. Because our society is desensitized to the nastiness around us, our barometer for detecting disgusting language and actions is getting more difficult to detect.
Here is a list of words associated with verbal abuse from the link I provide above: Accuse, blame, bully, control, counter, crazymaking, gaslighting, denial, discount, divert, indifference, isolation, joke, tease, judge, criticize, lie, minimize, name-calling, sabotage, threaten, trivialize, undermine, and withhold. Plainly stated, cancel culture is verbal abuse. It's literally the grown-up version of bullying, which we're allowing to run rampant in our society. We get offended by what someone says, or disagree with a belief system, or believe they've done something horrible. At that moment, we come up with a negative assessment and proceed to judge. Most often, those judgments are based on personal paradigms and experiences.
Proverbs 18:21 states that life and death are in the power of the tongue. The tongue functions like a small rudder on a ship that controls the entire ship (James 3:5). What comes out of our mouth creates how we live our lives - past, present, and future. Thoughts float through our mind. They "frame" an intent, complete with full architectural plans. From those "plans," some sort of action is born. Actions usually start with words. If we don't make sure our brain is engaged before putting our mouth in gear, we're gonna have some issues.
It seems to be "politically correct" these days to make fun of others we disagree with. When views are completely opposite of our perceived perception of a thing, we consider the counter belief wrong. Therefore, that provides the needed ingredient to cancel an individual. How do we know that we're not the one with the problem? If we don't know the answer, it's time to look within ourselves. If someone aims nastiness at us and we respond with a negative trigger, we cause an additional problem because of a negative reaction. Some might argue with me on that point but remember - our reactions are based on both good and bad life experiences. Our reactions become second-nature because we've practiced them throughout life. As we learn to react from a position of love, we have less negative triggers to the nastiness around us.
With compassion for others, we can release comfort, hope, love, peace, etc. over them. It's in our best interest to respond in an opposite spirit to the negative junk. Some days, I do better than others. It's a process that requires patience, perseverance, and practice. Remember that perfect love casts out all fear. When we release love, it keeps the negativity at bay. Yes, it might still affect those sending "nastygrams" aimed at us. But we don't have to receive that nastiness because we've chosen to function from the opposite spirit which negates the poisonous arrow aimed our direction. NEWSFLASH!!! It won't necessarily change a circumstance because people who choose to be negative will only change once their heart focuses on living from a place of love. Our job is to not come into agreement with verbal vomiting spewed our direction. Agreement with negativity equals acceptance and ownership.
Things might actually appear to get worse for a season. As we learn to stay in a place or rest and peace, secure in our identity in Christ, poisonous verbal arrows affect us less and less. The key is to watch our words and actions so that we do not become the problem. Just because someone else verbally vomits on us, doesn't mean that we have to reciprocate the offer. What a stinky mess to clean up!
How do we deal with the venom of cancel culture? We learn to operate in the opposite spirit. Since perfect love casts out all fear and nearly every negative action and reaction is rooted in fear, we must trust that the stronger frequencies of love will eventually override the negative. With each wave of love we send, the more power packed the wave becomes. However, this doesn't mean we allow others to step all over us. I do believe it's possible to aim "love bombs" at those who choose to engage in cancel culture. How can we do that?
At the time of this blog post, there's some pretty weird stuff going on in the world - war, mandates over medical procedures, government overreach, censorship of free speech, etc. I've watched as major media outlets go after independent journalists for "misinformation" among a myriad of other things. It's a bit difficult finding truth in many stories because key information is often left out. There are politicians we love to hate. We're polarized by varying political views and can't tolerate another view beyond our own. This is breeding grounds for cancel culture, which our children see, then act out. Then, we wonder why our children have issues? Monkey see - monkey do!
How can we combat hate and negativity? First off, we don't always remain silent, although silence with our lips isn't a bad thing. When I have nothing that needs to be said, I release frequencies that are intended to override negativity with perfect love. When people come at me with their verbal vomit, I try to find a way to deescalate the situation. Sometimes, that's with conversation. First off, you can't change a mind that's already made up. Why waste words through arguing? Through listening with our heart, we can learn when to say something and when to shut up.
A couple summers ago, there was a huge fight across the street with a drunk guy who was mad at another neighbor. People began to gather cheering for the drunk guy while hurling insults at the other. I actually got in the middle of the fight and helped calm the situation down by encouraging the one being verbally abused to be the grown up and back off. Normally, I would not recommend getting in the middle of a fight but I knew in my gut something would go seriously wrong if I didn't. Eventually, I yelled down the street for the cheering section to shut up because they weren't helping. After it was all over, I went to those who observed the fight and listened to one guy spew anger all over me because I yelled "shut up" at them. Without missing a beat, I apologized. He didn't know what to do with that and said nothing more. I then grabbed some worship flags and began to wave them in the street as I released frequencies of peace and comfort over the neighborhood. There are a few other things I continued to do but since that date, there have been no more issues. The "party central" house has remained relatively quiet. Hmmm....
In recent national situations, I started releasing certain frequencies (via words) over events centered around a specific "cause." It seems redundant at times but as I watch live streams, I grab a drum and while playing, I speak out the words I feel led to release. I see them as waves of energy that gather more steam every time I play. I see those frequencies released into the drum that then go through the various live streams. For example, I release unity, peace, hope, restoration, breakthrough, etc. This is called entrainment which goes directly into the live streams as a creative process to bring about change.
Change starts with us. Mother Theresa said that change comes "one person at a time." When we see people engaging in verbal abuse, it's possible to call them on that behavior in a loving manner. They expect a specific reaction but when something unexpected comes at them, it can literally stymie them, as you read in the example above. We are living in a world that needs to understand the unconditional love of God. I add peace, hope, restoration, breakthrough, truth, justice, and a myriad of other good things into the mix as well. We start small, then keep at it until more are affected by perfect love.
NEWSFLASH!!! When we truly understand our identity in Christ, we can allow the "nastigram arrows" aimed at us to be countered with perfect and the unconditional love of God. We no longer respond through our pain, low self-esteem, or a myriad of other things that hold us captive. Because we're in Christ and God is love, we can also BE love to those around us. We create change one person and one situation at a time. Start small. As we learn to to govern the small things, we're given more.
Begin today by releasing perfect love to your family, your neighborhood, your city, your region, then your country. I visualize releasing love, hope, truth, joy, and peace "bombs" over situations and regions. And, I keep at it continually until I feel a release to stop. Each "wave" of love has more energy than the previous wave. It's not a quick fix so don't expect immediate results. Keep at it!!! This is truly the only way to rid ourselves of cancel culture and all its nasty cuddle buddies. Love wins!