The Cynical Heart

Being cynical is a very British thing to do. Its defined as:

1. Believing that people are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity and

2. Doubtful as to whether something will happen or is worthwhile

With the banks, politicians and phone-hacking you can see why cynicism sprouts up. Who can we trust? Why bother with something, when it will only fall a part. You hear that when elections come round – no matter who you choose it doesn’t matter, they are all corrupt. I have been thinking about this quite a lot and I found it more noticeable when I came back from Peru. You see in Peru they put their full heart and effort into something, it could be the smallest thing yet they go all out and expect it to all turn out fantastic. When I stepped on English soil, I realised that we were very different – we expect failure and we don’t trust anyone. I noticed this inside me too, I can be very cynical, not really expecting things to work out and if on the off-chance they don’t. Well then I told you so…

Often this cynical heart comes from disappointment, perhaps people not meeting expectations or seeing things like this fail so not expecting it to work. Its funny but when you recognise it in yourself, you find it like a bitter taste in your mouth and you soon notice how it begins to destroy the people around you. Then you begin to listen and you hear others being cynical and soon things begin to unravel and slowly a small bit of yeast starts affecting the whole loaf.

It’s not just the world out there that is cynical, but its Christians as well. I think there is one area we are most cynical about and that’s the Church. Just give me Jesus and forget the church, I don’t need it. Our cynical, grumbling heart begins to talk about the church like this… “this won’t work, we have tried this before and it wont work”… “why are they changing this again? It’s just to suit their needs, but what about me?”…”Why don’t the leaders do it like this or like that – it would be much better, *sigh* they aren’t doing it right!”. These conversations mean I draw a line between me and the church and I stand on one side and the church stands on the other and I point my finger at them. *THEY* are like this and are doing it wrong. I am not. The reality is though, there is no line – I am in the church, I am part of the problem and the solution!

Yet when I read in the OT how the Lord dealt with those that grumbled in the wilderness, you would think it would hold our tongues and convict our hearts. But truth is, my heart is like those Israelites in the wilderness, grumbling, not believing this will work out, thinking there is a better plan – it’s all their fault, those leaders – they are to blame! I often think the Lord may open the ground to swallow me up!!

I have seen that the danger of a cynical heart is that it destroys the church and it destroys us. In a world where we distrust our leaders means we tend to grumble about them instead of encouraging them. The cynical christian grumbles about their elders and doesn’t encourage them. The cynical christian doesn’t believe that God will work in this situation and so develops a cold hard heart. The cynical christian doesn’t think that a new way of doing things will work because it’s apparently been tried before and so causes half-heartedness to give it a go. And this spreads, little by little it produces cracks and you start getting a group of people who don’t trust their leaders, don’t believe new things will work and so stays comfortable where they are and don’t believe God will work and so miracles (people saved, healed, prayers answered etc) may become less and less. Our hearts become dull and cold.

In those times my hope is that someone can point this out to me and point me to Christ. Because I need to be reminded of who He is and how much he loves his Bride – the church. My hope is that I can remind others that our christian walk should be like that of a child, expectant, full of trust and delighting in their Father. Everyday I need reminding of these things.  Also I don’t want a cold cynical heart because it’s not going to win anyone to Christ or to His bride and I want people to know Him and I want people to meet his bride and enjoy fellowship with her.

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4 thoughts on “The Cynical Heart

  1. We are SO good at being cynical. We really need to pray for unity in our churches/ in the body to help us look outside of ourselves. Thanks for sharing. Really enjoying your blog, it is reminded me of all the things we shared last year and keeping Christ fresh in my heart and mind.

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