Tue., Mar. 8/22
Do not become cynical… Cynicism makes your heart hard… it makes you like those to whom you became cynical. Cynicism weighs worthiness. It is essentially a legalism: The cynic measures a pound of kindness for a pound of demonstrated faithfulness, but if the other exhibits self-interest and deceit, the cynic metes out only scorn! Cynicism is a tit for tat sort of thing.
But Christ modelled something quite different… something radical. Rather than live life like a weigh scale Christ shows us how to live like a flowerbed. His social intercourse was more a fragrance than a balancing. Mind you, a day of balancing will come, but for now He seeks – and desires that we too seek – to woo others to His garden.
He taught of this transition early on in His first recorded sermon:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:44-48).
This sounds like a very hard thing at first, but is in fact most easy. Fragrancing, as I might coin it, requires doing only one thing. Actually, it is not so much a thing one does as it is a sort of person one becomes. No assessment of those benefitting from it is necessary.
It does, however require a complete turnaround, a turnaround made possible only by the indwelling Holy Spirit Who inhabits all believers. A turnaround from darkness to light (where you will see things you missed before), from night to day – “children of the light and children of the day,” wrote Paul (1 Thess. 5:5). Having turned full round you see better the signposts, you see them frontwards instead of only their backsides as before. Indeed all things are now illumined by the rising sun, and you are no longer overwhelmed by the glare of bitterness.
Beware that “bitter root” (Heb. 12:15). Beware lest “love grow cold” (Matt 24:12). Instead be unjustly gracious! Let the fragrance of Christ be your continual scent! “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Cor. 2:15).
After all, was it not such sweet aroma that first wooed you?
“I have never known a man who received Christ and ever regretted it.” – Billy Graham