…I’m more cynical than I seem.
And it’s hard for me to admit, ya know? ‘Cause if you would have asked me 5, 7, 10 years ago…and asked me what I’m not…I probably would have said the same thing.
It’s one of the sneakiest strongholds in existence. It plagues us, it stirs us, it blinds us; however, it’s often overlooked.
Why is that?
Well, as one who can humbly testifry1 to its cunning, cynicism tends to burrow in the places where unbelief and pride intersect; hence, why it’s so easy for cynicism to go unnoticed since those afflicted tend to assign skepticism to unbelief and security to self-preservation.
But truth is: cynicism isn’t a tolerable form of doubt or healthy confidence, it’s not an exit strategy for our fears, distrust, and past pains…and it’s certainly not an ideal way to bridge relationships considering cynicism deems them unworthy (by way of shattered ideals - real or imagined).
Contrarily, cynicism is a poison greenhouse that takes any self-deterministic2 perspective on life, identity, and/or relationship and depresses it into the mire of idolatry.
Thus, for people like me looking to conquer cynicism3, it’s imperative we first come to terms with what cynicism is and isn’t…not only so we can better identify destructive thought patterns/ progressions, but also so we can break them and walk in the fullness of freedom (which for the record, can only exist when meek awareness has matured into established, righteous action).
Let’s look at a case study.
When disappointments surface, what’s our default response? Do we channel our inner ‘Taylor Swift’ and shake it off…or do we connect them to unreconciled wounds?
For if the decision falls on the latter, the bond of bitterness tightens its grip…and our fear of being judged and misunderstood becomes the governing authority; however, if all trust is cast onto the Lord at the onset, then our yieldedness to Him ultimately allows us to take such misalignments captive.
I know, I know…easy said than done, right? I feel ya.
Nevertheless, it’s vital we not only confess the truth, but accept it into the application fabric of our lives.
Otherwise, when our “cynicism trigger” goes off, we may risk nonsensical associations (like linking unfavorable outcomes in the present to stupid decisions made in distant past) being our barometer and compass instead of the infallible absolutes we’ve been divinely given.
Let’s look at another.
When a certain need isn’t being met, how do we cope? Do we confront the issue head-on? Or do we withdraw and “wall up”?
And note: by confronting, I’m not implying a verbal barrage of antagonistic talk as much as a pursuit of peace preservation and reconciliation (see Matthew 18:15-20).
‘Cause again, if we cater to a fear of discouragement as opposed to a ‘what good can be achieved’ mentality, we essentially tolerate the belief that people can’t possibly be as God intended. As a result, we create a near-impenetrable barrier between us and the people God has entrusted in our midst.
See how cynicism contradicts the work of God in our lives?
Bottom line: while I’m in the process of winning the war against cynicism, I can still vouch…
1. ...the crippling effects of cynicism (as cemented by a) the false belief that most people are content in their deception of ‘who I am’…and b) a deep desire wanting to prove people wrong)…
2. ...the progression from unrealized insecurity/fear à realized insecurity/fear à hurt à anger/bitterness à unforgiveness à inferiority à distrust à self-preservation...
3. ...the joy of reclaiming lost ground as experienced in #1 & #2
So if anyone out there can relate, whether you’re struggling not to fold hope...or simply having a hard time trusting people to believe what they should…then please understand God wants to free you from oppression…deliver you from depression…and lift you from suppression.
Trust me… I know it’s not easy, but when it comes to conquering cynicism, the healing we crave (whether we deny it or not) can only come if we choose to open up the closed doors in our hearts.
In parting, I leave you with these Bible verses (see below). I encourage you to ‘selah’ on them as you press deeper into the Lord this week.
And as always, if you need a word, a prayer, an answer, I'm always here.
May His peace, His love, His favor overwhelm you to His highest...
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” ~ Ephesians 1:16-22 (ESV)
“Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise. If you respond to my warning, then I will pour out my spirit on you and teach you my words.” ~ Proverbs 1:23 (ESV, HCSB)
“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.” ~ 1 Timothy 2:8 (ESV)
1. Pun [definitely] intended
2. Self-deterministic = medicated doctrine centered on self-preservation and self-centered control tactics
3. Roll credits
Photo creds: addiezierman.com & onbeing.org (edited by Cameron Fry)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.