Search This Blog

Friday, May 10, 2013

When Knowing Hurts: The Case for Saying No to Knowledge

Friends of ours went to Las Vegas and vowed never to take their kids there. "The images. They're unavoidable. And, once they get in your head, you can't get them out, so we don't want our kids to even see them."

Makes sense.

We worried when our kids switched from a small private school to a public school. What would they be exposed to? What would they see and hear and be asked to do?

We talked with our kids about not being too curious. "You may hear some things that you can guess are inappropriate, but you aren't sure what they mean. Don't ask. If you really want to know, come home and ask us. It may feel embarrassing but we would rather talk to you about embarrassing things and tell you the truth, the accurate truth, than have a friend tell you."

We are all so curious about things that seem to be off limits. "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence," as they say.

I grew up very curious. Mostly it was a good trait, but it also got me in trouble.

As I watched sitcoms, I was always trying to figure out the double entendres, meant to conceal adult content from us kids who were watching.

My mind became accustomed to deciphering these, and eventually I would read them into comments that weren't meant to be inappropriate at all.

Like when your grandma is talking about salad dressing and says, "I don't want it on the side. I like it on top." And, I want to say, "TMI, Grandma, TMI!"

The Cool Kids

It always seemed like the cool kids had inside jokes and understood sex, drugs, alcohol and the like before the rest of us. So, there was a tendency to think that knowing more about immoral or inappropriate things was what made someone popular.

Unfortunately, that may be true to a degree... even among adults.

The lie behind this is an age-old one. Knowing is better than not knowing. It is better to be exposed to everything, so that we can make an informed choice.

It takes so many different forms, it would be impossible to list them all. Someone is tempted to watch a PG, PG-13, R, or X rated movie.

The old motto, "Try it, you'll like it" whether it be alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, or other drugs. Whatever is out of reach is desirable.

I say it is age-old because it sounds like Adam and Eve, doesn't it? As the story goes, God tells them to enjoy the fruit of any tree in the garden except one, the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil".

Why would it be knowledge that is off limits? Don't we equate "more knowledge" and "better"?

The Truth

Paul shows us the underlying truth in Romans 1-2

The Gospel is unfolding, being revealed. It is alive and penetrating. It brings life and healing and hope and peace and joy.

The Gospel, the good news of Jesus' life and His death and the open door that we have to be with God, is revealed when people, like you and I, allow God to love others through us. (1:17)

Our lives become a window through which others can see God at work in all of our lives.

If we shut down. If we become closed to God. If we allow bitterness, sinfulness, or judgment to overshadow our lives. If we stop the Gospel from doing what it will always do, reveal itself, then we are fighting against God Himself.

Paul talks about suppressing the truth, suppressing the Gospel, suppressing Christ by our wickedness, our sinfulness. (1:18)

All those things that seem so enlightened, so compelling, so desirous, so eye-opening, that increased knowledge but was sinful has become a barrier and has actually led to the truth being suppressed.

It sounds contradictory.

More knowledge, in this case, suppresses the truth.

Romans 1:21-22 - for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.

I love the way that is translated, "Claiming to be wise, they became fools."

Isn't that what we all do at times. We get so tied up in wanting... needing to know so that we can be wise, only to realize that we have become the fool.

Information doesn't make us wise. Only obedience to Christ brings wisdom. And, obedience to Christ leads away from some knowledge. Not all knowledge. But definitely some knowledge.

Following God's will for our lives will not stop us from enjoying the things of this world. It will allow us to enjoy life more fully.

Do we really believe that? Sometimes, I do, but often I don't.

The lie is so compelling. I continue to believe that the more I know the better off I am. I justify it by thinking that I am limited by what I don't know and can always choose to ignore something I do know.

But in reality, some images, some experiences, some knowledge you can't easily shake. It sticks even when you don't want to. How do you un-see or un-feel or un-do something? You can't.

Obedience to Christ is revealing and experiencing sin suppresses the truth.

Our identity is in Christ, formed through obedience to Christ, and not formed by gaining knowledge of things that hinder and hurt us.

No comments:

Post a Comment