Archives For truth

A guy emailed me this week to ask my opinion on a well-known Christian leader.  Prophet or a heretic? It was a valid question.  A discussion I’ve seen floating around emails, blogs, and internet chat rooms for years.

But as I was preparing my (obviously brilliant and insightful) answer, I paused.  Were this guy’s assumptions formulated on first hand knowledge or was he simply regurgitating the thoughts and opinions of others?  Better yet, was the answer I was preparing to fire off with reckless abandon founded on my personal convictions or a conglomeration of things I had heard others say?

The reality?  I had no idea what I was talking about.

I had never read a book, listened to a message, even viewed a tweet post of the leader in question.  Yet I was about to wax eloquence on his character and calling. The validity of His message.  I was preparing to vomit a bunch of other people’s opinions that supported my preconceived notions and validated my worldview.  Even if I had been factually right, I think I would have been terribly wrong.

The Bible is very clear in its warning to test what we hear:

“My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.”
-1 John 4:1 (MSG)

But I wonder how many times I’ve abdicated that responsibility?

I’m not condoning a lone-ranger lifestyle.  We need the correction and accountability that comes from solid community. I’ve had the revelations of others open my mind to incredible insights I would have never seen on my own.  But many of us are too quick to blindly adapt to a position handed to us by someone else.  Usually someone who can talk faster, think quicker, or has a nice looking blog.

Have we lost the ability to wrestle for the truth? Or maybe just the desire?  Are we afraid?  Weak?  Just give me the answer (or better yet,  post it on Facebook.  That’s more efficient).

For some, faith itself is cheap.  Lazy.  A faded copy of an old picture someone else handed to you.

I don’t want to live that way.  To lead that way.  A collection of Twitter re-tweets and Facebook shares.  I want my own encounter with the Creator of the Universe.  I want to hear Him whisper my name.  To speak to the deep places of my heart.  To know His voice.  To live with His conviction.

But don’t take my word for it.  Let Him tell you Himself.

What’s the difference between a prophet and a cynic? No punchline here.  That’s an honest question.

Last week we talked about Hard Truth, that the truth is offensive and really does hurt sometimes.  But when does hard truth cross the line and become wicked cynicism (you have to say that with your best Boston accent)?  Are they even points on the same continuum?

Cynicism is easy.  It’s not hard to identify corruption in the brokenness of humanity, and being hurt by it isn’t a question of if, but when. Unfortunately, the church isn’t much different.  And our heightened expectations in spiritual environments just adds to the disappointment when the proximity of human interaction shows it’s ugly side.

“…cynicism emerges like an evil alien from some b-rate horror flick.”

Sometimes we take it on the chin and lower our expectations.  Sometimes we might even lose our naivete and learn to rightly speak hard truths.  But far too often we cocoon our disillusionment and begin nurturing a cesspool of anger and resentment.  And cynicism emerges like an evil alien from some b-rate horror flick.

There’s a fundamental difference between a proclaimer of truth and a cynic. Prophetic voices speak hard truths, but they’re God’s truths, spoken in response to His Word and His revelation.  The motive is obedience.  The desired outcome redemption.

Cynics are selfish.  And while their words may carry some nuggets of truth, their motives are self-gratifying.  Self-justifying.  Self-righteous.  Cynicis aren’t seeking restoration, only the euphoria of pointing a finger at other people’s junk. The want to be right, not reconciled.

“Cynicis aren’t seeking restoration, only the euphoria of pointing a finger at other people’s junk.”

The Old Testament prophets agonized, even wept over their words. Cynics embrace theirs with glee, almost as if they desire to spread the pain and disappointment that drives the core of their own existence.

Becoming a cynic is almost natural, the path of least resistance.  Seeing beauty and potential amidst the brokenness of humanity is the tough road. Embracing Christ’s redemption is the challenge, and also our calling.

Some days I’m a cynic.

But what if we made this pact?  Instead of just pointing out what’s wrong, let’s endeavor to create what’s right. Cynicism is just words.  Let’s allow hard truth to become action.