A virus can kill, and obviously, it is a serious problem, but this is not about that. This post is about another sobering issue that is harming the souls of many.
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in suspicious, skeptical scorn among many. The rise of cynicism is undeniable and dramatic. I wrote about it here two years ago, and things are not any better, in my opinion. In fact, in that blog, I called cynicism a “soul virus.” And sadly, I fear this is a sickness that is now at a pandemic stage in our culture.
We don’t trust the news.
We don’t trust the government.
We don’t trust leaders (including church leaders).
And we sure don’t trust social media.
Okay, take a breath. (And please keep reading.) Of course, there are reasons not to trust at times. Too much false, misleading, and confusing information, from all sides and many sources, is pushed as fact, and there are plenty of shady leaders.
However, when our default response (i.e., reaction) is negative, nasty pessimism, then we are no longer healthy in our souls.
Certainly, no one should roll over and accept whatever they hear. God expects us to use our brains, exercise wisdom, and test what we are being told (even prophetic things). But there’s a vast difference between testing and being testy.
Bad-tempered grumpiness is not a fruit of the Spirit.
Treating those who disagree with you as an idiot is not at all Christ-like. (I wrote about this too, here.)
Thinking that you know all things about everything is just . . . well, foolish. The wisest guy to ever live once wrote, “Don’t think for a moment that you know it all” (Proverbs 3:7 TPT).
For the record, knowledge is not the problem. Exposure to opinions—even strong ones—is fine. It doesn’t matter to me if you Facebook, Instagram, Tweet, or TikTok. I don’t care if you watch CNN, Fox, or TBN.
But I am encouraging you to watch your attitude.
Please don’t get sucked into the vortex of negativity that is rampant in our culture. I know how easy it is to go there, but it’s not healthy or holy.
So, if the following attitudes describe you, then it might be time for a soul checkup.
- Have you become increasingly intolerable of others?
- Do you find yourself complaining a lot more?
- Has grumpiness squeezed out thankfulness in your life?
- Do you find yourself thinking everyone (but you) is an idiot?
- Have you fantasized about moving to a remote island and living with Wilson?
Without a doubt, we live in a time of uncertainty that breeds fear, often leading to cynicism.
But you can choose a better path. You can decide to turn off the news (or at least limit it). You can spend more time in the Word, in worship, and in prayer than you do on social media. You can ask your spouse or a friend to call you on your cynicism when it happens.
The alternative isn’t pretty. The world doesn’t need more harshness or negativity. Darkness (in any form) never pushes back the light, but God’s light in and through us can change everything.
So, go be the change you want to see in others.
Illuminate the gloomy shadows so widespread in our world today.
Go be light rather than adding to the darkness.
Be more like Jesus.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Matthew 5:14 (NIV)