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Cynicism begins because you care

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By Dave Henning / October 27, 2018

“Cynicism begins not because you don’t care, but because you do care.  It starts because you poured your heart into something and got little in return.  Or maybe you got something in return, but it was the opposite of what you desired.”- Carey Nieuwhof (emphasis author’s)

“And what do you benefit if your gain the whole world but lose your own soul?  Is anything worth more than your soul?”- Matthew 6:26 (NLT)

In Chapter 1 (“Find Me a Happy Lawyer”) of Didn’t See It Coming, Carey Nieuwhof observes that no one begins life as a cynic.  Yet, the optimism of your teenage years and the idealism of your twenties often gives way to realism in your thirties.

However, in the trenches of success, Pastor Nieuwhof noticed people around him possessed more than a happiness deficit.  A much deeper and pervasive condition existed: cynicism.  As a result, unchecked realism may lead you into the abyss of cynicism.

Most noteworthy, Carey states, many cynics started out as optimists.  Even though you’d never know it, cynics once expressed hope, enthusiasm, and cheerfulness.  As the author adds:

“There’s something in the human spirit that wants to hope, wants to think things will get better.  Nearly everyone starts life with a positive outlook.”

Therefore, Pastor Nieuwhof describes three things that happen to the human heart as it grows cynical.  Carey discusses the first reason today.

1.  You know too much.  While we tend to think of knowledge as a good thing, strangely, knowledge often saddens us.  And the longer we live, the more we know.  At some point you know too much.  For you’ve experienced heartbreak, betrayals, and backstabbing.

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon links more knowledge with more grief.  Why?  Because, Carey states, that’s the way life works.  The more you know, the more you understand life’s struggles, disappointments, and setbacks.  Carey concludes:

“There’s a gnawing hollowness that comes with success.  And there’s a desperate brokenness that comes from doing life with flawed people.”

Today’s question: How did caring bring cynicism to your life?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “When cynicism grows beyond its infancy”

About the author

Dave Henning


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