He never change!

2020 has turned too many of us into cynics! A cynic, by the dictionary’s definition, “is a person who believes that people are motivated purely by self-interest rather than acting for honorable or unselfish reasons.” Henry Ward Beecher, a well known pastor of the 19th century, said, “The cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game. The cynic puts all human actions into two classes – openly bad and secretly bad.”

Americans are at one of the lowest levels of trust in their government in our nation’s history. Most of us are deeply cynical about our elected leaders, and for good reason. We see the self-interest, the win at all cost power plays, and the attempts to manipulate us. Trust dies! Personally, we know that people will disappoint us.  But, remember those who have stuck with you through it all.  Some of your friends will disappear when life is tough for you, but there are a few that you can lean on.  Yes, your parents lied to you about Santa Claus. Was your cynicism born when you were about 9 and discovered that fact?  

Whatever our disappointment, to become a cynic is not the answer. It is a response to life that makes us mean and ugly! If we will, however, learn to forgive others their failures and short-comings, if we will accept that no one will ever perfectly meet our expectations, we can remain people who love, who are capable of forming real human relationships, who know how to wisely risk loving others.

We read that Jesus “came to seek and to save those who are lost!”  (Luke 19:10) The Son of God might have cynically concluded that it just wasn’t worth it, that people would not change. But, He chose a different way.

There is a great story of His hope for change, found in the Gospel of Luke, about a man named Zacchaeus.  Zee was a man who had put self-interest first. He decided to work for the Romans as a “tax collector.”  He wasn’t above adding more than his legal commission to the bill, a common practice which made ‘tax collector’ a phrase of contempt. Why was he willing to take the scorn? His work had made him wealthy. As we read between the lines of the story, we find a man hungry for acceptance and love.

When that tax collector heard that the traveling rabbi named Jesus was coming to Jericho, he wanted to see him. Of course, due to his lack of social stature, he had no hope that a respected man would entertain an offer of hospitality at his house.  Because of his literal lack of stature, Luke drops this detail into the story – “He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd.” (Luke 19:3, NIV) – Zee decided to climb a tree to get a glimpse of the Man.

Jesus, never a cynic, saw a person the world rejected and a heart that could change. As He looked up, He said, “Let’s do lunch together, at your place!”  The cynics went crazy! They muttered “He’s going to be the guest of a sinner!” 

What a conversation they enjoyed.  Jesus offered him acceptance and pointed Zee to the real purpose of his existence. What no one thought to be even possible happened. This little man returned to the God of his fathers, getting his life right in the process. Here is how that interaction turned out: “Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”” (Luke 19:9-10, The Message)

Disciple, let the love of God wash the cynicism from your life. Let the Lord of Love make you tender, forgiving, and full of hope.  Joining the cynics, with a permanent sneer on your face and sarcasm in your words, you may look sophisticated, but your life will be poisoned by a toxin that kills the soul. Choose to love the silly, the stupid, the selfish – people who are just like you and me!  It may earn you mockery, contempt for being naïve, but it is the way of Jesus.

In our word from the Word God invites us to love like Jesus did.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NLT)

Lord, renew my hope.
Help me to look for the best, to love those who are lost,
to be wisely willing to take a risk on someone that others have decided is beyond redemption. Amen.

Good, Good Father  
(this song helps us to see the goodness of God AND
Invites us to the change He can bring to our lives)

I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

I’ve seen many searching for answers
Far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers
Only You provide
Because You know just what we need
Before we say a word

You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

Love so undeniable I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love love love

You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

Anthony Brown | Pat Barrett © 2014 Capitol CMG Paragon (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Common Hymnal Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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