The Sin of Curiosity

“…I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.” – Romans 6:19b

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” – Eph. 5:11-12

“I really don’t want to talk about it.”

As humans we are naturally curious beings. There are things that interest us or attract our attention, and we want to know about them. Of course, this curiosity is only stimulated when we reach the edge of obtaining juicy information when we hear the above sentence.

“I really don’t think I should tell you.”

Well, now we want to know all the more, don’t we? If it’s worth keeping behind closed lips, it must be worth knowing. I find that more often than not, though, it’s much more tempting when it’s something scandalous to pry a bit more and see if I can garner my desired information. I can act very concerned about the person we’re talking about, and think I’m genuinely wanting to help them. In reality, I just want to find out what’s going on that I don’t know about. I’ve fallen into the trap of curiosity.

James paints a good picture of this in his epistle:

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

The idea is that of a fisherman baiting and drawing away a fish from its safe abode. The fish sees something interesting and thinks, “My, I wonder what that thing is? Attractive thing, it is. Well, it’s a worm! I wonder if it tastes good… Maybe I’ll try it…” Before long, the fisherman is tossing another one in his boat.

So often, temptation begins with a simple object of curiosity. Whether it becomes a gossip filled conversation, or reading about something we ought not, or seeing something we shouldn’t, it may begin with a simple, “I was just curious.” It makes sin sound so innocent. No longer is sin the despicable thing that it is; it was just a fulfillment of our natural curiosity. And when we awake to ourselves, we think, “Now how did I get here?”

One pitfall for me was movie reviews. I got into the habit of reading movie reviews on a Christian review site. Was I ever going to see these movies? Probably not: I’m not a fan of movie theatres, really, so I could always just review it later if I really wanted to see it. Did I need to read about it because someone had asked me what I thought about it? No, I just wanted to see what it was about. Unfortunately, I would (seemingly) innocently read a review, and before long was reading about graphic violence or something dark or… so on and so forth. And then my mind, being very imaginative, would play what these scenes could look like in my head. Eventually, I realized what the problem was. But it all started with a simple, “I want to know.”

So often, we know more about evil and dark things than we do about the good. Rather than being “wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil”, we are precisely the opposite. If we continue down this path, we will no longer have any shame in speaking “of those things which are done by them in secret.” We won’t reprove the deeds of darkness by our silence and severity toward them, but will instead discuss them.

Our knowledge is backwards today. I see nominal Christians who don’t know many more scriptures than John 3:16, but can tell you all about the latest sex-romp movie. It is so easy to access knowledge and wisdom about evil and sinful things.

Paul writes in Romans 12, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Whatever we are feeding our brains and souls with is what we will be conformed to. If we want to be Christians who are conformed to the image of God, why do we keep listening to music and watching junk that contradicts the message of the cross? When I feed my mind on things that are of the world, the flesh, and the devil, I shall increasingly think, and thus, be, like the world, the flesh, and the devil. But when I fill my mind with all things that edify and uplift my eyes toward heaven, I become increasingly more like my Savior and Lord. And isn’t that our goal, anyway – to increase in sanctification and holiness so as to love and worship our God better and to be duly prepared for heaven? Paul concludes that verse in Romans 12 with, “that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” That is the purpose here in the transformation of our minds – to see what is good in the sight of God.

If you are like me, you’re a naturally curious person. I’ve talked here about the sinful curiosity; but there is a holy curiosity, a burning desire to know God and to know His Word more. So if you are like me, join me in my quest to turn away from my fleshly inquiries, and to turn to the Word and inquire there of my Lord. If we diligently seek Him, He will answer us. In fact, He has given us what we need to know Him more – the Bible. Rather than hearing the latest gossip or seeing the latest movie, get into His Word.

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  1. #1 by annabelle on July 18, 2011 - 4:05 am

    oh dear. you don’t beat around the bush, do you?

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