I have become a cynic.
And it’s ugly.
I’m not sure how or when it happened. But today it hit me like a bolt of lightning how bad it’s become. I’ve tried to find a better word to describe it. Something kinder and gentler than “cynic” but none of the watered down words can describe the hardness of my heart.
Cynic is a harsh word. It’s cold. Heartless. The definition will make you cringe.
Cyn-ic [sin-ik] –noun
- A person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view
- A person who shows or expresses a bitterly or sneeringly cynical attitude
Ugly isn’t it. And yet, that is what I have become.
The antonym for cynic is “believer” or “optimist”. And that is what I used to be. In fact my husband used to tell me I need to quit being so trusting of everyone. I always had compassion for everyone, believed the best in everyone, and was optimist that everything would work out just fine thank you.
So what happened? I’m not sure exactly. I could say that I’ve been hurt. It’s true. But I’ve been hurt before and kept believing the best. I could say I’ve been cheated. It’s true as well. But I’ve been cheated before and always been quick to forgive. I could say it’s because I’ve been disappointed. Another true statement. But disappointment is nothing new. My reaction is the only thing that has changed.
Perhaps the cause is unimportant. It is the solution I seek, not the cause.
My cynicism is a defense mechanism. It’s “safer” to be detached than to invite injury. When you believe the best in people you are almost guaranteed that you will be disappointed. If you expect to be disappointed… well, at least you knew it was coming.
The question that is haunting me is: “If my cynicism is protecting my heart from being hurt then why am I still hurting so much”.
It seems as if my logic has failed.
When we close ourselves off to others we miss out on the bad. But we also miss out on the good. We miss out on the disappointments, but we also miss out on the joy. We may miss out on some hurt, but we also miss out on the wonder.
I used to believe that people were by nature good, kind, and generous. Perhaps that is still true. Even if it isn’t, the God I serve IS good, kind, and generous. And He has created me to be like Him.
I confess to you the bitterness and unbelief in my heart. My heart has been closed off to people, but You are really the one I have sinned against. Create in me a clean heart and make me faithful again. Make me happy as You did when You saved me, make me want to obey! You, who have every right to be cynical towards me chose instead to extend mercy and grace. Help me to extend that same mercy and grace to others. Help me to love without limit. To have compassion once again. Help me to trust You with my heart, for only You are able to protect it. Amen