In Christian circles it isn’t cynicism, it is merely facing the facts, or being realistic or some other way to rationalize away unbelief or looking for the worst in someone else. In college I was a proud cynic until the dean of men cornered me and “beat the sheep.” He made it very clear that nowhere in scripture do we see Jesus being cynical or praising it as a virtue. Thus began the long hard journey of renewing my mind and changing the way I think of & view people.
I’ve spent too many years as a Jesus-follower mired in the sin of unbelief. What’s worse, I allowed it to bleed over into my attitude, cynical about things I hadn’t seen. What a waste! A lot of people these days are cynical, and that’s fine, but why bother trying to follow Jesus, a man who placed such a high priority on faith? By definition, you can’t be a cynic and a man of faith.
I heard about a Christian leader who was sharing Jesus with a stranger. The stranger asked him, “Aren’t you ashamed to share this?” He replied, “How could I be ashamed? I’ve been a witness to God’s power!”
Many Americans have never seen God’s power like this. Some of us fulfill Paul’s prediction: “People will be lovers of themselves…having a form of godliness, but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:12)
A lot of us modern Jesus-followers have been caught up in learning. But we’ve not seen the reality of what we’ve learned. So when push comes to shove, we become cynical. That cynicism itself has power, a power that must be broken if we are ever to experience the abundant life Jesus promised. But how?
The good news is that God wants to help us break the power of cynicism. I found this great little piece of scripture about this. In Ezekiel, it says that when the Jews struggled with it, God said the following to them:
“What is this proverb you have: ‘The days go by and every vision comes to nothing’? [ahem, I’m ticked]
Say to them: ‘I am going to put an end to this proverb and they will no longer quote it in Israel.’
Say to them: ‘The days are near when every vision will be fulfilled.’ [I’m going to root out the source of the cynicism]
For there will be no more false visions…
But I the Lord will speak…and it shall be fulfilled without delay.” (Ezekiel 12:22-25)
Here are some things we can conclude from this passage:
- People grow cynical when visions die and when words don’t measure up to reality.
- God hates cynicism.
- God loves faith and builds it on His promise.
- The devil mimics vision in order to produce cynicism.
- God destroys cynicism by speaking vision and fulfilling vision.
Faith may not be easy, but they call us “believers” because we’ve got it. To sit in the seat of the scoffer is to deny God’s power; it is to fail to align ourselves with Him.
Those of us who find ourselves trapped in a rut of cynicism that denies God’s power are in a dangerous spot. Perhaps our faithlessness is fed by our friends or perhaps it’s just been so long since we’ve exercised our faith muscle that it’s grown flabby.
Whatever the reason, the passage from Ezekiel leads us to conclude that God doesn’t like cynicism, that, in fact, He loves faith. There are probably some areas in your life where the hopeful visions of yesterday have died. Change begins with a decision: “I will choose to stop disbelieving.” Maybe it’s time to ask Him for a fresh revelation. God is trustworthy; whatever He tells you, you can believe it. Indeed, believing it is your only way out of the rut of cynicism.
a young woman recently asked me to disciple her, and as i was studying the scriptures to encourage her, i was hit with the brick of our society’s cynicism.
in studying the scripture on that, i then googled it and found this excellent blog post.
thank you for directing us to ezekiel.
would you mind if i link back here in the future from my blog?
Lea – please be my guest. Glad it helped.
WOW! This was super good. The 2 Timothy verse blew me away and I find myself surrounded by people who deny God his power… it’s a weird community to find yourself in and sometimes it’s just a crazy thought. So glad I found this today!
You have seen God’s power. Keep walking in it.
This post still has legs! Blessed to come across it this morning in my quiet time…I needed these words. Thanks Seth.
Thank you for this great reminder we are either of God or not. In cynicism we are standing for godlessness. I am reminded and encouraged to be who I am and this is a woman of faith that is to dwell in Gods truth, Gods miracles. To be the image of who God and that he is with us always even if it “ feels “ hopeless and heavy.Renewing our minds and taking our thoughts captive. That would be the power of hope and gratefulness what “is”.
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