The Cynic

Mike Focht 7/12/2024

The cynic faces a particular danger. That danger is the reality that they are right more often than wrong. Indeed, the cynic is not always right—the true cynic will quickly make the point that no one ever is! It is the very fact that the cynic is often correct that causes the cynical spirit in them to grow slowly. Since their cynical expectation is fulfilled more than countered, it matures like a winding vine that wraps around everything it can.

You see, we live in a world of sin. So, the secular or spiritual cynic will continually find that their expectation of negativity is bound to be proven right more often than not. In this way, our fallen world breeds a nature that looks at life through cynicism. The individual cynic then feels that his attitude is justified because his cynicism is right more than wrong. This unfortunate cycle breeds a chronic, cynical nature.

It is the very effectiveness of cynicism that creates so many cynics! The spirit of the cynic is dangerous for numerous reasons, but mostly because it is effective. Notice that I did not say the spirit of the cynic is righteous. Simply, it effectively points out the sin that it expects to find. In the world, there is little hope for this problem. In the church, praise God; we have an answer in the perfect and spotless person of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Even so, as followers of Christ, we are not immune to this sinful but effective spirit. The Christian cynic may be right about the sin hiding behind particular people or situations, but they are not righteous in their attitude. The nature of suspicion, doubtfulness, and indifferent care that cynicism breeds are not Christ-like. Here is where we must confess the dangers that a cynical spirit poses for us as followers of Christ. The Holy Spirit is not in the business of nurturing the icy and gloom in souls—even if they are right about the presence of sin.

As Christians, we are commanded to walk in love, and Biblical love—the type of love shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit—will be in direct conflict with the cynical nature bred by sin. Paul makes it clear that Christian love thinks no evil…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. We must repent for anything less than that type of love.

Living in Biblical love does not mean the Christian becomes gullible and blind, far from it. Jesus was more sensitive to and aware of sin than any of His followers will ever be. Still, His goodness was not overcome by the evil spirit of cynicism. Biblical wisdom, understanding, and discernment are a part of love. In writing to the Philippians, Paul even prays that their love would abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent and that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ. So, living in love does not mean we lose all sense of discernment, knowledge, or judgment.

The question remains for us: When I see, experience, expect, and interact with sin in this fallen world—because we all most certainly will—what type of spirit is maturing in me? One that is animated with the love of God so that I can meet that sin with Biblical understanding, discernment, wisdom, judgment, hope, and love? For all those traits work harmoniously in the Spirit of Christ. Or, has the sin that I have encountered in the world and the church transformed me into a cynic? Do I meet the world and the church with a spirit of suspicion, doubt, indifference, self-righteousness, distrust, and skepticism?

All cynics must remember that they may be mostly right when expecting to find sin in the world, but they will always be wrong when they look at the spotless Lamb of God with any cynicism. If the consistency of sin in this world has slowly begun to transform us into cynics, we must repent and turn our eyes to the consistency of love and perfection in the character of Christ. Then, and only then, will we slowly mature into Christians.