Cynicism is the new rock n roll. It tells the world: ‘I’ve been around the block a few times, I won’t be taken in, I’m savvy, street smart and most of all, experienced.’
It seems wise – but it’s completely anti-gospel. In Jesus, I’m called to the very opposite: faith, hope and love.
Faith means embracing what cannot be humanly learned. It means receiving what cannot be humanly earned. I’m called to trust when the world, the flesh and the devil says ‘Doubt!’ That’s faith – right?
And hope. That means being open to what isn’t humanly possible. It means a confidence that, however bad things are right now, we are not destined for the pit. If we’re in the valley of the shadow we WILL be raised up. This world is not going to the dogs, it’s going to be redeemed and remade.
Then, there’s love. Finding yourself by giving yourself away. Quitting the self-protection game and instead looking outwards. Tapping into mercy, compassion and kindness, rather than pride, bitterness and a cool reserve. To love means lighting a candle – not just railing at the darkness. It’s about stepping forwards with arms outstretched…not throwing up our hands and walking away.
Faith, hope and love versus self-reliance, cynicism and cool. One looks weak but is strong; the other looks strong but is weak. With Jesus we realise, self-reliance is not the way. Cool is not a fruit of the spirit. Cynicism is not a spiritual gift. Following Jesus may look naïve, foolish and reckless — but only from one perspective.
Last week I was at a museum exhibit that shows you the world through the eyes of a bird. Look through the viewfinder with human eyes and there’s a picture that doesn’t make sense. It’s a blob; a mass of green, maybe blue. It could be sea or sky or grass – who knows? But look again through the eagle lens: and it’s so clear and bright, you almost step back. The blob is a meadow shimmering with colour and texture and light. An overturned log, a stream, a ditch, a nest of mice. Each blade of grass, illuminated.
The world looks with human eyes. It’s low resolution. It all looks the same and it’s easily dismissed. But Jesus gives us a heavenly perspective. A seed that falls into the ground yet rises to life. A sunrise that extinguishes the darkness. An empty tomb. A movement of love, that spans the globe. A voice in the darkness saying, ‘I am the light of the world.’
The cynic thinks they’ve seen it all – but they haven’t seen enough. We see Jesus, and everything is illuminated.