What’s the difference between a prophet and a cynic? No punchline here. That’s an honest question.
Last week we talked about Hard Truth, that the truth is offensive and really does hurt sometimes. But when does hard truth cross the line and become wicked cynicism (you have to say that with your best Boston accent)? Are they even points on the same continuum?
Cynicism is easy. It’s not hard to identify corruption in the brokenness of humanity, and being hurt by it isn’t a question of if, but when. Unfortunately, the church isn’t much different. And our heightened expectations in spiritual environments just adds to the disappointment when the proximity of human interaction shows it’s ugly side.
“…cynicism emerges like an evil alien from some b-rate horror flick.”
Sometimes we take it on the chin and lower our expectations. Sometimes we might even lose our naivete and learn to rightly speak hard truths. But far too often we cocoon our disillusionment and begin nurturing a cesspool of anger and resentment. And cynicism emerges like an evil alien from some b-rate horror flick.
There’s a fundamental difference between a proclaimer of truth and a cynic. Prophetic voices speak hard truths, but they’re God’s truths, spoken in response to His Word and His revelation. The motive is obedience. The desired outcome redemption.
Cynics are selfish. And while their words may carry some nuggets of truth, their motives are self-gratifying. Self-justifying. Self-righteous. Cynicis aren’t seeking restoration, only the euphoria of pointing a finger at other people’s junk. The want to be right, not reconciled.
“Cynicis aren’t seeking restoration, only the euphoria of pointing a finger at other people’s junk.”
The Old Testament prophets agonized, even wept over their words. Cynics embrace theirs with glee, almost as if they desire to spread the pain and disappointment that drives the core of their own existence.
Becoming a cynic is almost natural, the path of least resistance. Seeing beauty and potential amidst the brokenness of humanity is the tough road. Embracing Christ’s redemption is the challenge, and also our calling.
Some days I’m a cynic.
But what if we made this pact? Instead of just pointing out what’s wrong, let’s endeavor to create what’s right. Cynicism is just words. Let’s allow hard truth to become action.