Our casual dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in the area was recently disrupted by the belligerence and ceaseless complaining coming from the table behind us. I was suddenly a really, really big fan of social distancing and had some creative ideas for the use of my face mask.
The problem was that the lady’s grilled fish arrived blackened and a little over-cooked. They declined the server’s repeated offer to make it right and continued griping after she turned to help another table. When she returned to check on them, they demanded to speak to the person in charge. Learning no one was available and in her earshot, they sneered, “I can’t believe no one is in charge. The lunatics are running the asylum.”
Over and over again they bellyached, alternating between taking shots at the food and service until the young lady was bawling behind her mask. I wanted to verbally thrash them myself. I probably would have if I hadn’t been wearing my Tribe of Judah – Jesus is Lord shirt. We did our best to appreciate our server, encourage her, and bless her despite the hostility coming from these people. Kelli told her she was doing a great job, tipped her well, told her God wanted her to know that He loved her, and hugged her as she cried in her arms.
The cancel culture thriving in our land today refuses apologies and promises to make things right are never enough. The mystery is that so many that live in glass houses are the first ones to pick up the rocks just like this family that looked like they could have stepped right out of the movie, Deliverance. I kept waiting for the banjo to start playing. Their child was a holy terror and Dad and Grandma’s language would make a rapper blush. Like so many in the world today, they didn’t realize they’re disqualified from removing the speck from the eyes of others because of the logs in their own eyes (Matthew 7:5).
The story of the prodigal son reveals the contrast between the heart of the Father and the cancel culture. The son in the pigpen wasn’t the only prodigal in the story. Unlike the Father who looked for the return of his son, ran to him, and moved quickly to restore him, the brother, unable to see his own fallen condition, was actually upset that his father did not cancel him. That’s the difference. The Father is in the restoration business, not the cancellation business.
The Apostle Paul tells us “to clothe ourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12). With all the craziness and challenges facing our communities and nation right now, we sure could use more compassion and less harshness – more restoration and less cancellation. Let’s choose not to be the customer from hell, the student from hell, the employee from hell, or the church attender from hell. Let’s do good, and when we see it, overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). Let’s all make the quality decision to join the Father in the family business!