In going through all these boxes that have been in storage for two years, I’m often reminded of how different I am today than I was then. Whenever I think about my old ways there’s one thing that really stands out to me now: cynicism. I used to be very cynical. And I believe now it’s one of the most dangerous traits to indulge.
I don’t know what the official definition of cynicism is, but I think of it as pessimism plus pride. Not only do you close yourself to the possibility of wonder, selfless goodness, and hope, but you think you’re doing so because you’re intelligent and world-wise. That was my brand of cynicism, at least.
I think that some people use it as a coping mechanism for dealing with the pain, suffering and injustice they see in the world all around them. That was probably at least partially the case with me. But it’s a state of mind that will slowly rot the soul.
Cynics don’t like to hear about (and often don’t even believe in) happy endings. And when you’re in that state of mind there’s almost no way God could get through to you, since his message (and mere existence) contains the ultimate happy ending. In fact, I don’t think it would even be possible to be a believing Christian and a cynic. The two are mutually exclusive. In order for one to enter, the other has to go.
I think this topic is interesting also in light of the discussion going on in response to my last post about spiritual attacks. Jessica, the daughter of missionaries, notes that spiritual warfare takes different forms in different places depending on the culture of the people. In the small subarcitic village where her family lived, there were overt demonic attacks through witch doctors. Here in the United States and in Europe demons use different methods — and I think that cynicism is one of their more effective tools.
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