What I pondered Wednesday #3

This week's post is from Christoper Rule at Relevant Magazine. I wanted to write something original, but with this cold entering day 3, I'm not having much in the way of original thought besides "I want a sandwich for lunch."  I received this devotional a few weeks ago &  it's really stuck with me.

Bible verse: "Test everything. Hold onto the good." 1 Thessalonians 5:21

"Dangerously attractive, cynicism is a way to 'hide in the steel armor of of pseudo-intellectual-babble.' An effective castle of self-protection, cynics can look down from a turret invincilby, not truly defending anything but pride.

Suspicion is a biblical principle. The New Testament alone uses Greek words implying 'beware, be suspicious, caution' almost 600 times. Jesus himself cautioned the disciples to beware, to look deeper than surface level, to ask questions. There is a profound level of humility in the very act of questioning; it assumes that you don't know and are seeking truth.

Hope is about risk, about desiring in anticipation that something will happen. Christianity's hope is based in the person of Jesus Christ; without hope there is no faith, no reason to be a Christian. While suspicion helps one ask helpful questions, cynicism throws the question out the window, saying it doesn't matter.

By holding on to hope, one can continue to make a difference. People are hoping, battling against cynicsm. It is not a simplistic sentimentality, but a hope that something big will happen, a desire to see God's grace infuse this world."

There's such a fine line between biblical suspicion & cynicism. Having spent my whole life in academia I tend to err towards cynicism. Law school doesn't help the matter: within the cut throat competitiveness of the legal environment, professors beat into your head that you must ask questions. Find out more, probe deeper. Never make a judgment right away. Research, evaluate, examine. In the environment of law school, this suspicion quickly & easily turns to cynicism. But as Rule points out, this cynicism only distances us from Christ. We end up closed off distancing ourselves from Christ and from others, believers and non-believers.

It's not just law school that preaches cynicism. The entire world seems to preach it. It's hard not to be cynical in today's world. Cynicism appears to protect us. While revolution & crisis are nothing new, in the information age we're aware every second of every day of the unrest & upheaval in Libya, the Ivory Coast, Bahrain and other countries. We can watch the Fukashima nuclear disaster unfold in Japan. There are video clips of TSA patting down 6 year old girls on the evening news. With the negative news constantly bombarding us, it's so tempting to lock ourselves away in an ivory tower of cynicism.

But this doesn't get us anywhere in our walk with Christ. It doesn't advance the Father's mission for the world. Instead, it transforms our hearts into bitter hardened lumps. Yes we have to protect ourselves and ask questions. But cynicism doesn't do that.

So how do we walk that line between suspicion and cynicism? That's not a question I'm sure I can answer just yet. For right now, I'm choosing to monitor my own thoughts & reactions and stay on guard against worldly cynicism. It doesn't matter how we guard against cynicism; it just matters that we do.

If you liked the devotional, head over to the Relevant website to read more devotionals or subscribe here.

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