It’s a dazzling day in Dallas. As you walk to your car you spot another woman who attends the same aquatics class. “Hi! That’s a nice outfit Shrena.” She looks at you surprised but then mutters, “Yeah, sure” (like you really care)! Surprised, at her response you innocently ask, “Shrena, are you alright?” But it’s too late. She walks away, ducks in her Audi and drives out of the parking lot.
Later at work, Hank, a deacon in your church, sits next to you in a budgetary meeting. You mention to him how it seems like the new CFO is making significant improvements in the accounting arena. He looks over and with a sarcastic smirk, replies, “You think he’s doing a good job? He’s just manipulating the numbers. If he looks good, the bonuses are great and then he’s out of here!”
Ephesians 4:22-24--You took off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires; you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.
It’s hard to keep a good attitude when a cynic enters the scene. The wordcyniccomes from the Greek word kunikos,an adjective meaning “doglike”. The word was most likely applied to the Cynic philosophers because of the nickname given to Diogenes of Sinope, the prototypical Cynic who often impersonated a dog in disgusting fashions. In 1596, the word was first used to mean “faultfinder,” a precursor for how we use the term today. The American Heritage Dictionary points out:
"The meaning “faultfinder” came naturally from the behavior of countless Cynics who in their pursuit of virtue pointed out the flaws in others. Such faultfinding could lead quite naturally to the belief associated with cynics of today that selfishness determines human behavior."
What was good for Greek philosophers is not acceptable for God’s children. Jesus, never got stuck on the flaws of those around Him, He pursued His Father’s will. So should we. While the pursuit of virtue is commendable, the art of painting defects robs us of joy and harmfully blemishes those disdained.
If you are a cynic then at some point in time you have been hurt and refused to let God bring healing. Instead of forgiveness you spin resentful thoughts. Sadly, that attitude of sarcasm and biting wit chains you to the ground. You can never advance and minister as God would have you. Let go! Stop rationalizing your judgmental spirit and caustic words with the errors of your brothers and sisters. Put on a Jesus-attitude! In a world already full of darkness start shining! Get out there and be a blessing! It’s easy to be negative—Satan didn’t tell Eve of God’s greatness. He coaxed her with what she didn’t have.
When we are hurt, we are apt to become cynical; cynicism is a sign that the hurt is recent.—Oswald Chambers in Shade of His Hand
©2002 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)