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Summary: Cynicism is the loss of trust and support of goodness. Cynicism is the loss of faith in the possibility to change, improve or move forward. Cynicism is the loss of hope.

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Intro

Today Super Bowl Sunday.

There will be 22 players on the field who desperately need rest... being watched by about 100 million people who could use some exercise.

It's okay that most of us aren't playing that game... we aren't fit for it. But the tragedy is that it can reflect the way we relate to life with God... a few participating but most of us can get sidelined... watching, discussing, criticizing... but not actually playing.

Today we are going to conclude our series... "Joining God in the Present."

God is always at work...engaged in this world...the question is "are we?"

There is a life that is in front of you. Too often we are so focused on the past it's like trying to drive a car using the rear view mirror.... it serve a purpose at times but the windshield is where life is. Sometimes we may not know what is way ahead over the horizon so we pull over and park.

But there is one force at work that will steal as much as any of these...it will tell you that driving is stupid...and you might as well never go anywhere.

It often begins in a difficult disappointment...that wants to detach...and finds comfort in what we know as "cynicism."

If we were to make a list of prevalent attitudes that are destructive to our faith and our joy, somewhere near the top of the list has to be cynicism.

Cynicism can be defined this way:

Cynicism is the loss of trust and support of goodness. Cynicism is the loss of faith in the possibility to change, improve or move forward. Cynicism is the loss of hope.

It is an enemy of life...because it becomes an enemy of life with God. The writer of the Psalms describes this in the very first Psalm.

Psalm 1:1-3 (GW)

Blessed is the person who does not follow the advice of wicked people, take the path of sinners, or join the company of mockers. 2 Rather, he delights in the teachings of the LORD and reflects on his teachings day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted beside streams— a tree that produces fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. He succeeds in everything he does.

Blessed means supremely happy or fulfilled.

He begins to flow with the style of Hebrew poetry of contrasting two ways

... capturing two paths that diverge. [1]

In this first part of he Psalm he is declaring what the blessed life leads to... a fruitful tree.

It describes the man who delights in the law of God and draws his spiritual nourishment from it as a tree that draws its nourishment from an abundantly flowing stream. The land might be quite dry and barren. The winds might be hot. But if the tree is planted by the stream, so that it can sink its roots down and draw nourishment, it will prosper and yield fruit.

But there is a contrast...the one who blessed is the one who does not end up in the place of mockers...in the seat of scoffers.

He describes a progression... beginning with taking advice... being influenced by the attitudes of this world....then joining the path (waits to meet up with them)...then becomes fully given to the position... he becomes one of them... "joins the company of the mockers"....or (as some translations state)... they are "sitting in the seat of scoffers."

Our culture begs such a path.

Most people find that they are more cynical as they get older...more cynical than when they were young.

Now I know that the term "mockers...or scoffers" may seem so strong as to be hard to identify with...but it captures the work of cynicism that can effect us all.

Cynicism is something that we are all vulnerable to.

Have you been affected by the culture of cynicism? If you answer “no’ to that question, I will do my best to believe you... and not be cynical, but I am not sure I’ll be able to pull it off.

• When anyone seems to be really nice...do you think they must be fake...or hiding something?

• When anything becomes popular...do you feel it needs to be criticized?

How many of us may have said:

• "That's just stupid...it can never work."

• "You can NEVER trust a _____ (lawyer, salesman, pastor)."

• “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.”

• “Life sucks, and then you die.”

• "That's just the way it is." (No. It's not !)

• The world is going to hell." (No it's not ! God is redeeming this world !)

Cynicism is like the cool acceptable cultural drug of choice.... 'everyone's doing it'...and while it seems a little negative... we may feel like fools if we don't try it...and besides maybe we can try it but never really inhale.

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