Avoiding the cynical path

Path

The path leads one of two ways I was told — in our service through Christian communications, the only options are to become deeply pious or doggedly cynical.

I couldn’t quite grasp what my mentor was saying. After all I had only recently stepped into my first position with The Alabama Baptist newspaper and was still warming up to the fact that I did have a calling in the area of communications.

How that would look over time I did not know, but I knew I would give it everything I had at every point. For me, it has always been a calling to the concept and goal of communications — specifically within a faith-based arena — not necessarily to a position.

The positions have been there and I’m always grateful for them, but the heart of what we do in striving to effectively connect people, build relationships and share information is what has kept me motivated. 

Now I can look back and see what my mentor meant all those years ago. 

Danger lies ahead

Developing an attitude of cynicism is a real danger — not only because we work in an area where we often see behind the curtain of ministry life but also because of the endless opportunities to be hurt by others. Of course, this isn’t necessarily different than any other area of work or life.

The fight to keep optimism alive and to stay positive is sometimes hard enough on our own, but when we are called to motivate and lead others to do the same, then it truly requires digging down deep and staying intimately connected to God to make it happen.

Think about how many people in your circles regularly complain, show frustration or spew angry sentiments. And think about how much energy you use absorbing all of it. 

While we can technically be cynical without being ugly, cynicism typically brings a negative attitude and general “what’s the use” spirit. After all, everyone is out for him- or herself, right? There’s no hope left for humanity, right? 

Distrust, suspicion, disgust and frustration are related feelings. When these traits are present, peace and joy get squashed and overshadowed — and our general presence definitely is not winning any popularity contests. 

Grasping the power of peace and joy

Without peace and joy, we start down a path of negativity, selfishness and maybe even ugliness. And without a steady diet of God’s word and connection with Him, our defenses will weaken over time.

Many of us say we are tired of the divisive culture we’ve found ourselves in, but what are we doing to change it? Are we willing to evaluate our own hearts first?

Are we willing to challenge others to be the best they can be by believing in their potential even when they can’t find the strength to do it themselves?

It is sometimes hard to love others and believe in them, but think about the possibilities if we keep trying. 

—Jennifer Davis Rash