Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cynics Beware

The reading today describes the cynical tongue as one that scorns the motives of others. I like to think the best of others' but in examining myself, I find that I am guilty of this one too from time to time.

When I was young, sarcasm or cynicism as humor was a popular trend and I was pretty good at it. The writings of Ambrose Bierce were among my favorites.  I almost always spoke before I thought of the impact, and while people liked me, they weren't all that comfortable around me.  I thought I was being "wryly amusing." This came to a screeching halt when I got married and my husband pointed out that my sarcasm wasn't funny. I'm pretty sure he was mad at me at the time, so I don't think I received that message graciously. But over time, I came to understand how wounding sarcasm was to him, and how it made me look in his eyes.

These days, I find that my cynicism comes from becoming weary due to a long standing issue or situation (i.e. politics, religion, parenting, all those things you're not supposed to talk about in polite company). When the iceberg starts to move a tiny bit, I am suspicious of its motives.

And yet . . . when I question the motives of others, I show how far away from God I am. After all, HE never gives up on us. And HE can change anyone's heart. When I am skeptical about someone's apparent change of heart, I'm showing that I doubt God's ability to do that. Who am I to question anyone's motivation?

We need people who are brave enough to question mainstream thought. We should value those in our society who ask difficult questions out loud. A false "Pollyanna" atmosphere is of little use to anyone.  For believers however, those questions and challenges should come after prayer and time spent in Scripture.

Unchecked cynicism poisons an atmosphere, whether it is in the home, the work place, a church, a book group...it drains the positive energy from a group setting which is otherwise productive. We all know those people who are "sour" in their outlook, cynics about everything, and emotionally toxic. If you are close to one of those people or you ARE one of those people, consider asking the Lord what He would have you do about it.

Lord, show me today when I am contemplating this error and help me correct it. Especially before it comes out my mouth or rolls off my fingers.


quilly said...

Cynicism is horribly draining and hard to live with on a daily basis. Sometimes I hear it creeping into my thoughts and speech and I fear becoming one of those people others avoid.

SouthLakesMom said...

I'm with you on that Quilly. When I hear it in myself I remind myself to look for my JOY. For me, it usually means it is time for me to UP my time with God and DOWN my time with the radio, newspaper or internet news.