I recently posted a poem on my Facebook author page titled Canceled. I did not anticipate the level of engagement it would generate since it was just a little ditty about a current societal phenomenon.
Well, really it is not so phenomenal or current, since people have been canceling or attempting to cancel one another all the way back to Cain and Abel. The Pharisees and the Roman government sure put the cancel squeeze on Jesus and His followers, first painting them as radicals and misfits, as sinners and unfit, and then just hauling off and murdering the leader and most of his core followers over a period of a few years.
Anyway, this is how the poem goes:
I’d rather pick your brainUncanceled
Than pick a fight
But if I do the former
I have no doubt
The latter might break out
‘Cause you don’t think
The way I do
And that’s one thing
I don’t like about you
But go ahead
Let’s hear it
I might not like
What you said
But I won’t fear it.
I might even learn
A thing or two
The likes of you
One reader commented, “I overstand every word, got a situationship this applies to 100%.”
I think she meant to write “I understand” and “situation,” and like so many of us, maybe typing on her phone, she just had the wrong input.
Overstand is, of course, a word. It means to keep on a navigational course even after you have reached your mark. You just keep going. I think it is funnier to think of it as a really firm grasp of a situation. Like, you feel it so deep in your soul, you have so much familiarity with the meaning that you don’t just understand it; you overstand it.
Apparently, plenty of people overstand the pain and the dirty, dastardly nature of canceling someone because you don’t agree with them or like their life choices. I addressed that in a Facebook Reel here.
I realize that the religious camp I was raised in was as good at canceling as they were being canceled. If you did not adhere to a rather lengthy and robust set of “standards” or rules, you were canceled, even if you were of the same faith!
Jesus, on the other hand, embraced the people no one else would. His church featured former whores, thieves, lepers, blue-collar men with foul mouths, and assorted other misfits. The prim and the proper, the ones who thought they were the standard for acceptable behavior and decorum were appalled by his friendships. Now, Jesus did not endorse ungodliness. He did not wink at sin. But he did not marginalize or cancel sinners, either. He invested in them. He listened to them. He talked with them. He reached them.
Maybe we need to understand our role in society as Jesus’ followers a little better. Maybe we need to overstand it. Cancel your cancellations. Be Jesus for someone today. Maybe they will sneer and jeer and reject you. Maybe, just maybe a lost soul, a hurting person will be redeemed and will find fresh hope because of your kindness.