It must grieve God when disbelieving Christians try their cynical best to pull others into disbelief along with them. I have seen this scenario played out more times than I would like to count. Someone shares a testimony of a beautiful thing God has done, a supernatural encounter they can bear testimony to as it happened to a loved one or themselves, and the cynics swarm to disprove their statement or quash their call.
“Don’t be too disappointed if Johnny slips back into his old habit patterns, you know, I’d wait before you go shouting to the world about your son’s transformation.”
“Don’t get too excited about Jesus. What will the neighbours think? Do you know how silly people look when they are jumping around like that? He’s our Saviour, but there is no need to go off the deep end.”
“The doctors must have given you a wrong diagnosis. It probably wasn’t that bad, after all. It’s just a coincidence you felt better after prayer.”
“It’s a placebo effect or an adrenaline rush. Once you calm down, you’ll be in pain again.”
“You know that guy you said that God used to heal you five years ago? Well, I hear he’s got sin in his life now, therefore that healing was probably from Satan, so you better get that healing prayed off you.”
“How do you think you are going to get the money to take that mission trip? Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know. It annoys everyone when someone asks for financial support.”
“That slick presentation probably emotionally manipulated you. What that mission group that you are feeling called to join just how hard it will be. No one will appreciate you over there. You will waste your education and your parent’s hard-earned money for that education. You won’t find a husband/wife. Think about your future children! Think about it for a year or two, weigh the pros and cons, don’t jump the gun, wait for those fickle emotions to die away. Don’t get too excited, now.”
These are just a few of the faith-quashing comments I have heard from Christian sceptics and cynics over the years! I must admit, I have thought many of the above myself. As I age, I tend to take the ‘wait and see; time will tell’ approach. I further admit that such a cynical attitude has born zero good fruit.
If I had waited for the stirring in my heart to ebb before I joined Youth With A Mission, I would have never gone. I would have never touched lives around the world with my unique giftings and personality. Divine appointments arranged for me to carry God’s love and healing to certain people at certain times would have gone unmet.
There are countless examples throughout scripture that warn against cynical scepticism, mocking, and quelling faith.
Creating doubt was the first tactic Satan used against God’s people. “Are you sure God said that you were not to eat from this tree?” It didn’t go well for him in the beginning, and it will not go well for him in the end.
Michal’s open scorn as David joyfully ushered the Tabernacle into Jerusalem resulted in her infertility and her husband’s withdrawal of affection.
Thomas’s doubting didn’t cost him much more than his pride, but I am sure he never forgot the folly of his scepticism. He became a mighty man of faith, and church tradition believes he was a catalyst for carrying the gospel as far as India. As a side note, I wish the church at large would let this poor man off the hook. He was a doubter once. Peter betrayed Jesus once, but we did not dub him Betrayer Peter.
Jesus urged His disciples to cultivate a child-like faith while warning them not to do anything that would cause those with child-like faith to stumble. The Gospels record His words to those who scoffed at His teachings. Cynics and sceptics who valued religious decorum over a relationship with God were the targets of His most pointed rebukes.
Christians! Be people of faith. There are enough cynics and armchair critics in this world! Encourage each other to dream big and to go big with God. Rejoice in their victories, celebrate their healings, kill the fatted calf when the prodigals come home! Stand behind those who are called to do great exploits for God. Exhort each other onto the good works that Christ has called each of us to accomplish. Pray in faith, believing!
All Bible Verses, unless otherwise noted, are attributed to the NASB 1995 version
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