Weekly Thought – December 5, 2023
Fred once defined a cynic as one who would choose to ride through a sewer in a glass-bottomed boat. He made sure he maintained a realistic perspective without lapsing into cynicism. He jotted down some ideas about overcoming cynicism which serve as the text for this week’s thought.
Cynicism has no integrity. Even though it often properly evaluates the present, it has no hope for the future. A Christians we can never be without hope for tomorrow. Christians believe in the great possibilities given by God. It is our responsibility to make a difference, not to drop out.
Recently a bright, young executive asked me to lunch. He opened the conversation by saying, “I serve on several Christian boards and have been invited to join two national ministry boards. But as a businessman I have become cynical at what I see. You have been in this situation most of your life. How do you avoid cynicism?”
I freely admitted being involved with Christian organizations as long as I have been tainted by an amount – hopefully, it is the healthy variety.
I gave him an antidote: Maintain your sense of humor. In my experience there is no human activity (spiritual or not) devoid of human frailties. To me, humor eases the tension between where we are and where we ought to be. Tragically, and way too often, in the most serious business of the Kingdom, we act as clowns in the court. We play games, indulge in politics, defend our errors, and deny our temptations. All of these can be a source of humor. Sin garbed in ecclesiastical raiment is ridiculous. In such situations it is better to laugh than to criticize. I must emphasize I am not endorsing any of these sinful behaviors – just recommending a healthy objectivity.
May I share a personal illustration? At my father’s funeral both the elderly retiring pastor and the young incoming man shared the platform. I knew how this would work so I wrote a note to my brother, “Watch this!” Sure enough, the outgoing man widely known for his vast Bible memorization skills began with passage after passage. The younger man looked uncomfortable, but literally rose to the occasion drawing on all his recently acquired homiletical skills. I could have become cynical but I knew my Dad as a Baptist preacher influenced by George Truett and W.A. Criswell would have thoroughly enjoyed it. Both men were men of fine spirit and sincerity who just got caught up in a situation that became a contest.
To become cynical would have been to deny the present reality. To allow cynicism to overshadow the truth of their words would defeat their goal.
As Christians we have the responsibility to accurately assess the environment and respond appropriately. Maturity allows us to see without falling into unhealthy cynicism. We always want to be realistic, but keep our minds centered on the truth of the higher things.
This week think about: 1) When do I tend to become cynical? 2) How do I discipline myself to see reality without jumping into a glass bottom boat? 3) Who models healthy maturity?
Words of Wisdom: “It is our responsibility to make a difference, not to drop out.”
Wisdom from the Word: “But whoever is among the living has hope.”(Ecclesiastes 9:9(a) NET Bible)