In case you missed last week’s recording, “The Sin of Cynicism-Part 1”, you can find that here. Today’s recording is Episode 26-The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2.
The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2 Outline
Reflection on Part 1
Dissection of The Older Brother
Welcome to Healing Our Brokenness Part 2. Today’s recording is episode 26: The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2. Just as a quick recap from Part 1, we discussed the fact that Cynicism has several factors that lead up to its brokenness as a state of mind:
Reflection on Part 1
You have experienced a lot of issues with betrayal.
There are historical patterns of things not working out in your
favor, or working out in a way that is undesirable to you.
You get to the point of seeing too much and hearing too much to
think that things will be different.
Most of the people that you trusted let you down.
The few times that you thought things would turn out good, they
turned out bad, and you lost faith in believing that things could be different.
In the case of the two stories that we are
going to look at today, the two biblical characters carried out the sin of
cynicism because of two main reasons:
The historical pattern of character of the authority figures.
The lack of legalism that existed for these authority figures.
The two men that we are going to dissect is Jonah
and the older brother of the prodigal son.
Their reasons for cynicism contradict the normal factors. Cynicism set in with both of these men because of the recognition of the good qualities of the father and God.
Dissection of The Older Brother
Let’s explore the story of the prodigal son first.
The dad was gracious, merciful, slow to anger, kind, forgiving,
accepting, non-judgmental, long-suffering, and compassionate.
the prodigal son returned home penniless, hungry, and exhausted from wild
living, the father could have greeted him with judgment, coldness, and
distance. Instead he accepted his son, welcomed
him with a grateful heart that he was safe and sound, and embraced him for who
fact that he ran to meet him to diffuse being shamed by the community was a
bonus. It showed the son that he was
going to be welcomed. There is nothing
worse than messing up big time, and not knowing what other Christians are going
to say as you reenter the house of God or run into them while you are in
Luke 15 tells us:
But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had
compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight,
and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe,
and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is
found. And they began to be merry.
The father knew that hitting rock bottom was enough of a consequence for the younger son. He didn’t need to enforce further punishment. He also possessed enough self-acceptance that he didn’t worry about being embarrassed in regard to the reaction of the community.
older son dwelled on his sin of cynicism that is evidenced through dialog that
is filled with scornfulness, bitterness, and resentment. He felt that he had been failed. He didn’t focus on his younger brother’s
condition of going from “lost to found”.
Along with his cynicism, he was filled with self-pity and envy: Luke
15: 28-31 reads: “28 And he was angry, and
would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
29 And he answering said to
his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any
time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make
merry with my friends:
30 But as soon as this thy
son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for
him the fatted calf.
31 And he said unto him, Son,
thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
32 It was meet that we should
make merry and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and
was lost, and is found.
The father tried to get the older son to go
in twice. We are left wondering what
eventually happened. Did he stay outside
and continue to sulk? One thing this
clear about the brother’s dialog is that not only is he resentful, but he is
filled with broken thinking. Two words
suggest broken thinking when resentment is present: “always and never”.
Our dialog goes something like this:
“I always have to clean the house.”
“She always gets to do something special.”
“I never have the opportunity to do anything.”
Nine times out of ten, these statements aren’t
true. If they are true, there is some type
of dynamic that has been setup that needs to change. Or, perhaps, the financial situation has
changed that allows you to do more for the younger child than you were able to
do for the older child. Whatever the
case may be, broken thinking is present.
First-born children tend to be
rule-followers. With that thought in
mind, the older son definitely felt that he was cheated since he was the “rule-follower”. However, one thing about rule followers is
that they can get caught up in being legalistic because they follow the
rules. God is more concerned about our
hearts than checking off boxes to say that we did something.
Let’s explore the story of Jonah.
Jonah was told to go to Nineveh to warn them about
their sin and God’s judgment for their sin if they continued going in the
direction that they were going.
Jonah decided that he knew best,
and so, he skipped out on the trip altogether, and took a boat ride to a
different part of town. God had a fish
to swallow Jonah. And Jonah prayed
inside of the fish for God’s mercy and grace, and the fish released Jonah.
Let’s discuss the character of the authority figure in Jonah’s story.
Jonah’s story, this figure is God. Not surprisingly,
the dad in our first story is actually a representation of God.
are the characteristics of God that Jonah was familiar with?
God was gracious, merciful, slow to anger, kind, forgiving,
accepting, non-judgmental, long-suffering, and compassionate.
In Jonah’s story, Jonah was bitter, resentful, and cynical because
God proved that his heart was all of those characteristics that were just
mentioned. It was okay for God to have
all these attributes when it came to saving him. However, it wasn’t okay for him to possess
them when it came to saving the Ninevites.
God gave Jonah a chance to get it right. He sent him to Nineveh a second time:
Jonah 3 King James Version
3 And the
word of the Lord came
unto Jonah the second time, saying,
2 Arise, go
unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid
3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the
word of theLord. Now Nineveh was
an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.
4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast,
and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from
his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and
sat in ashes.
7 And he caused it to be
proclaimed and published through
Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor
beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
8 But let
man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let
them turn everyone from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their
9 Who can
tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we
Ninevites didn’t have to suffer consequences because they repented right
4: 10 says:
10 And God
saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the
evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
Like the older brother in the prodigal son story, Jonah was so
angry that he didn’t know what to do with himself. God tried reasoning with him. Unfortunately, Jonah wasn’t haven’t it.
His cynicism showed up in verses 1-2, when he basically said, “See,
this is why I didn’t do what you told me.
I know this is how you would respond.”
Here are his exact words: “But it displeased
Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
2 And he
prayed unto the Lord, and
said, I pray thee, O Lord,
was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before
unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to
anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
God told Jonah that the people were lost, just as the father tried to help his older son to understand about the prodigal:
Jonah 4: 7-11, KJV
God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd
that it withered.
8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God
prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he
fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die
than to live.
9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for
the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.
10 Then said the Lord,
Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither
madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:
11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
Jonah and His Rights
Jonah pouted outside of the city underneath the tree just as the
older brother pouted outside of the party celebration that was going on inside
for the prodigal son. Both men felt that
they were right. Both authority figures
tried reasoning with them twice. Both
were caught up in anger, bitterness, resentment, and cynicism. And both missed out on blessings because of
it. But why? They ignored the sovereignty of God. We have all been in both of their shoes. WE know best.
WE know what justice should look like.
WE can play God and have mercy and grace poured out on us, and others
should not. When we don’t adhere to God’s
plans, his timing, and his will, we trade whole faith for broken pieces of bitterness,
resentment, and cynicism every time.
When cynicism becomes our brokenness, it becomes our idol, and we began to scorn God directly and indirectly because of our trials and other peoples’ success. This is how Satan works. If he can get us to lose trust in our faith due to our trials, others’ brokenness, and the hurt and pain of “church hurt”. Then, he has got us.
So, the question is, how do we get out of this sin. Prayer.
Lots of it. Cynicism is spiritual
like all other sin. Getting grounded in
our identity. Getting rid of our broken
thinking. Changed thinking equals
changed talking and changed talking equals changed behavior. Accept that God is sovereign. Pray and ask God to help you to be able to trust
again, knowing that we can’t live in this world without it. It takes time to heal, but it is
possible. Trust God’s sovereignty and
plans for our lives.
I hope that you have enjoyed today’s episode. Thank you for listening, and if today’s episode
has impressed upon your heart, share it with a friend or coworker.