Something dangerous can happen in the heart of a person and in that of a community when a general distrust arises. It is then that cynicism is at work and leads on to a sceptical hardening of the heart which questions everything and believes nothing.
Just as hardening of the arteries is dangerous for physical health, so creeping cynicism can be dangerous for spiritual health. It was Pharaoh’s hard heart that led to his rejection of God and the tragedies experienced in Egypt. A hard heart is a dying heart.
‘It's easier to be cynical; to accept that change isn't possible’ – Barack Abama
Where would you be on the cynicism spectrum? Have disappointments turned you in on yourself or have they turned you towards God? Sadly, people disappoint people and disappointed people disappoint people. A wrong view of God will also disappoint and can cause you to be disappointed in him. Yet the truth is God never fails and He is always for us – his very character is faithful.
‘All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful’ – Psalm 25:10
‘For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generation’ – Psalm 100:5
God our Father calls us to walk with him in humble faith, not in cynicism: ‘And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’ - Micah 6:8
Take a decisive step away from cynicism – it may be a humbling thing to do but it’s a good first step to firmer ground. ‘Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up’ - James 4:10
Stepping the other way is a poor decision: ‘whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble’ - Proverbs 28:14
Asking God to keep your heart soft towards him or to soften your heart is a prayer he loves to hear. The Lord answers this prayer by giving us his Word, his promises, his people and his Holy Spirit. It is his love and his truth that can gently restore and heal. God accepts all who truly turn to him – you don’t have to earn his approval or his love.
Hardness may take a while to soften – the harder it is, the longer it may take. Just as water will run off hard barren ground at first, sometimes it will need a long soak and a breaking up of the ground:
‘Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unploughed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you’ – Hosea 10:12
Rather than the Russian propaganda reaction of ‘whataboutism’ seen during the Cold War, it is softening that is the cure for hardness.
‘Men of integrity, by their very existence, rekindle the belief that as a people we can live above the level of moral squalor. We need that belief; a cynical community is a corrupt community’ - John W. Gardner
So watch out for every sign of cynicism in your heart, for it spells danger for your walk with God.
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