The truth is that our culture is very easily drawn toward cynicism. There is so much hypocrisy and disappointment in life that optimism seems vaguely idiotic. When it comes to Christianity I was living a very cynical existence for many years. Everywhere I looked I saw hypocritical televangelists or nominal believers. I felt most pastors preferred pop-psychology to faithful exegesis. On top of that I felt the Evangelical culture as a whole was inconsistently preoccupied with certain social issues (such as a perceived fight against homosexual marriage).
Over the years God has been slowly softening my heart. I am not a cheery optimist and I still consider my spiritual gift to be sarcasm but I am learning to model the grace of the gospel to everyone. When I look at the surrounding culture I balance critical realism with gospel-centered hopefulness. I am neither blindly naïve or hopelessly jaded.
For me, cynicism came from a belief that I had all the answers. I felt that the way I viewed the world and the way I understood God was the only possible way. While I still have strong opinions on issues, at the core of my ability to navigate through the perceived ignorance of others is an understanding that I am not the final arbiter of what is wise or unwise.
The gospel has magnified the depth of my sin and highlighted the grace of Jesus leaving me with no response but thankful humility. It is only the gospel that gives me hope that I can change, that God is good, and that their is a future for those that love Jesus. That is the hope that I want to share with a jaded and cynical world.