My Life with God

The Trouble with Cynicism

If you want to kick cynicism in the teeth, trust again. Believe again. Hope again.

Not at the cost of discernment. But we are letting cynicism destroy us—our relationships, our communities, our faith. It’s not as if we don’t have faith, because we do. In something. We might place our faith in rights, in facts, in evidence, in perspective, in structure, in revolt. We vehemently question others, yet we don’t question ourselves, and we certainly don’t invite others to question us. We might not even see our cynicism or admit what the cynicism around us is doing to us. We post and share as facts, but others, whether they agree or disagree with us, can see the trend and tone. We have conversations and react to others with eyerolls and sass. Or we wait until we can vent or ridicule in private. Our inability or unwillingness to dialogue reveals so much about us, as does our unwillingness to engage when our voices need to be heard in respectful ways that look and feel different than much of the noise around us.

Cynicism is a diatribe that is sometimes forcefully expressed but most often poisons us from deep within. It is becoming a socially acceptable way to see the world and express ourselves. Because it’s often rationalized as standing up for oneself or others or truth, it seems noble. It’s not. It’s outward focused discontent that is often tied with a thread or two of truth then surrounded with filler ties that look pretty but are inconsistent and unreliable.

Hope and faith should never be blind. We need to keep our eyes and minds open. We need to invite humility and change. We need to explore other perspectives, not being gullible or defensive. If we are filtering everything with wisdom, we will be able to consider and incorporate what challenges and expands and let the rest fall aside. On the other hand, cynicism tends to get distracted and annoyed with “the rest” to the extent we begin to lose sight of where we actually began.

Trust, believe, hope. It’s not going to be easy if you choose to do so with authenticity instead of pride. But constantly pulling up the roots of cynicism and cultivating truth and healthy, humble faith will produce beautiful results that help us all.

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