Somewhere, there is a line that divides the cynic from the person with questions. You know what I mean, don’t you? Questions are not always about doubt. They are about clarification. We are not inclined to believe that integrity is being attacked when we are asked a question. Imagine, you meet a friend on the street and ask him what he has been doing lately. He responds that he has been busy at work, and has had little time to do much else. You then ask him if he is working for the same place that you remembered about him. Enraged, he verbally attacks you, punches you in the nose, and claims that you are calling him a liar. Now, that may seem to be a bit far fetched, and I guess it is. Still, cynicism may be just the culprit that turns a question into an attack. It seems to me that we have a hard time communicating without doubt. We struggle to trust just about anyone, no matter how evident the truth of the matter is.
From the time we are small children we are taught to doubt. Oh, I know we are also pressed to accept the word of our parents, family members, and a close circle of others. We used to even accept the word of teachers, neighbors, and preachers. Mixed in the messages of trust were those clear commands to never accept the word of a stranger. It might seem a bit pedestrian in nature, but there is a basic admonition that may be at the beginning of the cynical course when it is said, “Never take candy from a stranger!”
As adults, our doubts of people become a little more involved and life affecting. Consider the involvement of choosing civic and government leaders. We may align with our group or party of preference, but at the same time we question the credibility of the very people for whom we cast our votes. Seriously, we hear what they have to say, determine our votes, and then expect that they will not be completely true to their words. I may be stretching the point a little bit, but not far. And politicians are not the only ones for whom we reserve our skepticism. We tend to be equal opportunity doubters. Ask yourself when you last believed the claims of a new product, without reservation.
There may be good reasons why we become cynical about politician and products. It is the overflow that may be the matter of greater importance.
God has given us undeniable reasons to believe. When confronted with Jesus, many of the people of His times – especially the leaders - doubted and even rejected Him. In spite of prophecy, miracles, and amazing teaching, they still doubted. The cross of Jesus may be the greatest testimony to the effects of cynicism. They should have believed.
Perhaps being cynical has never been more in vogue than it is in the present. The evidence of the past two thousand years can be ignored and doubted with ease. We have learned our lesson well. We believe in ourselves and doubt others. We even doubt God. Oh, we don’t offer blatant denials. We just offer quiet skepticism and go about our own business.
There are so many reasons to believe, and an empty tomb is the greatest testimony of all. What would it take to convince you?