The Cure for a Cynical Heart

“I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.”
(Psalm 9:1–2)

 Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, and while everyone is busy making preparations for the big meal and the family gatherings, may we not forget the reason why we’re all together – to give thanks to God for all His blessings.

I recently came upon the following from A.W. Tozer on Thankfulness As a Moral Therapeutic that I thought I would share which tells of the benefits of a spirit of thankfulness.

In this world of corruption there is a danger that the earnest Christian may overreact in his resistance to evil and become a victim of the religious occupational disease, cynicism. The constant need to go counter to popular trends may easily develop in him a sour habit of faultfinding and turn him into a sulky critic of other men’s matters, without clarity and without love.

What makes this cynical spirit particularly dangerous is that the cynic is usually right. His analyses are accurate, his judgment sound. He can prove he is right in his moral views; yet for all that he is wrong, frightfully, pathetically, wrong. But because he is right, he never suspects how tragically wrong he is. He slides imperceptibly into a condition of chronic bitterness and comes at last to accept it as normal.

Now as a cure for the sour, faultfinding attitude I recommend the cultivation of the habit of thankfulness. Thanksgiving has great curative power. The heart that is constantly overflowing with gratitude will be safe from those attacks of resentfulness and gloom that bother so many religious persons. A thankful heart cannot be cynical.

We should never take any blessing for granted, but accept everything as a gift from the Father of Lights. Whole days may be spent occasionally in the holy practice of being thankful. We should write on a tablet one by one the things for which we are grateful to God and to our fellow men. And a constant return to this thought during the day as our minds get free will serve to fix the habit in our hearts.

In trying to count our many blessings the difficulty is not to find things to count, but to find time to enumerate them all… To my parents I owe my life and my upbringing. To my teachers I owe that patient line-upon-line instruction that took me when I was a young, ignorant pagan and enabled me to read and write. To the patriots and statesmen of the past I owe the liberties I now enjoy. To numerous and unknown soldiers who shed their blood to keep our country free I owe a debt I can never pay. And I please God and enlarge my own heart when I remind the Lord that I am grateful for them.

Tozer, A.W. The Root of the Righteous. (Harrisburg, PA, Christian Publications Inc., 1955) Pg. 122-125.

So if you’re struggling with a bitter and cynical heart, find your cure in thankfulness. Make your list of blessings today – count your blessings, name them one by one. Pour out before the Lord your gratitude and praise, not just when the bird is on the table, but each and every day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sola Deo Gloria!

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About reveds

Occupation: Pastor, Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, Lennox, SD Education: BS - Christian Education, Sterling College; MDiv. - Princeton Theological Seminary Family: Married, with Four children. Hobbies: Running (will someday run a marathon), Sci-Fi (especially Doctor Who and Sherlock), Theater, and anything else my kids will let me do.
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