“Cynicism grows beyond its infancy when your start to protect yourself from future hurt. Having been burned once or twice, you tell yourself only fools get burned three times. So you start to guard your heart. You shelter your soul.”- Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof concludes Chapter 1 of Didn’t See It Coming as he talks about the second and third factors that grow a cynical heart.
2. You project the past onto the future. When you start to guard your heart and shelter your soul, you engage in self-preservation. But this seemingly harmless start soon morphs into something more insidious. What you perceive as wisdom really involves hurt and fear forming calluses around your heart.
Next, you begin to look for patterns. And with age and experience, your skill at seeing patterns increases. Rather than seeing people for who they are and situations for what they could be, you only see potential hurt. Eventually, Pastor Nieuwhof notes, this wariness makes you weary. Furthermore, “you guardedness and suspicion evolve into anger and bitterness.
3. You decide to stop trusting, hoping, and believing. Generalizing creates the problem here. Carey compares the death of trust, hope, and belief to a virus. It infects everything. Although you think you’re protecting yourself from the future, in reality this new stance infects your present. Therefore, you retreat not only from the future, but also from the present.
Consequently, and perhaps most disturbingly, this cynicism begins to infect your relationship with God. Thus, when you close your heart to people, you also close your heart to God. Also, you find that you trust less and doubt more. You convince yourself that God’s promises in Scripture don’t apply to you and mark them with an asterisk. In addition, your prayer life becomes stunted.
In conclusion, the author notes, there’s an antidote for cynicism. The question-Are you willing to embrace it?
Today’s question: Has cynicism grown beyond infancy in your life? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the annotated bibliography of Unshakable Hope