Today's first reading taken from chapter 5 of the first letter of John centers around witnesses, testimony, and faith. Many Chrsitians love to quote 2 Cor 5:7,
For we walk by faith and not by sight.
In fact, even the most avowed atheist walks by faith. A simple statement like "The earth revolves around the sun" is for most people a faith statement. We believe it to be true based on the testimony of someone we trust. Education is mostly a faith exercise. We only test and observe for ourselves a sliver of what we learn. We need faith not just in religious matters but in all of life. Faith is a product of trust and without trust their can be no relationships. Without relationships life ceases to be truly human.
For this reason, cynicism may well be the most dangerous disease in our society. Many people think of doubt as the opposite of faith. But doubt in moderation can be a positive force. It can urge us forward, cause us to question, explore, and achieve an ever deeper understanding.
Cynicism on the other hand serves no positive purpose. It poisons everything it touches and prevents us from knowing anything or anyone. It closes our hearts and our minds. It leaves a person both ignorant and alone in the world.
As Christians we must be constantly on the lookout. The line between healthy doubt and cynicism can be hard to discern and we can cross it without even noticing. Our starting point, our default should always be one of faith. I will believe others until I have a legitimate basis for doubt. If we start from the other side constantly demanding proof, we are setting ourselves up to surely fall into the pit of cynicism.
How can we love if we do not trust? Let us look into our hearts today and remove any cynicism that may have taken root.