The Danger of Curiosity

A friend of mine told me about a relative who went canoeing in the Okefenokee Swamp in the southern part of the United States. Being a novice in the canoe and new to the area, he was fascinated with the interesting ecosystem which supports a wide variety of animal and plant life including many species of reptiles, amphibians and an abundance of American alligators. As the trip went on and he became more at ease in his surroundings, his curiosity about the strange creatures around them increased.

While out on the water with his buddy one morning, his attention was captivated by a brightly colored snake swimming a yard or so away from the bow of the boat. Wanting to get a better look, he reached out with his paddle hoping to lift it out of the water. Rather than allowing itself to be casually studied, the startled serpent reacted and like lightning, shot up the paddle and bit him deeply on the hand.

The creature turned out to be a highly poisonous coral snake, and the bewildered man had to be airlifted out of the swamp for a lengthy hospital stay and a full round of anti-venom costing many thousands of dollars.

You know that story reminds me of another time when unguarded curiosity led to an encounter with a serpent that had an even more disastrous result.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6

Eve had a natural curiosity about the world around her, and when the disguised enemy slipped up beside her and prodded her with an innocent sounding query (vs 1), she took a step closer to investigate. All she planned to do was reiterate the words God had spoken, (vs 2-3) but she underestimated the danger of continuing the conversation. Only a couple of verses later, she’s sewing fig leaves together, and we’re left to wonder how she could so quickly have forgotten the command she had just quoted. Simply entertaining the enemy’s twisted deception led her to make a mistake that overshadowed the rest of her days and enslaved all her descendants for all of human history.

Curiosity is a wonderful and divine gift that has led to many amazing discoveries and innovations, but for it to truly be beneficial, it must be kept in check within the boundaries of God’s commands. That often requires believers to carefully police their thoughts (Phil 4:8; Col 3:2-3) and diligently develop the strength to mentally (and sometimes physically) walk away from that which could potentially lead us away from the path of righteousness. It also demands that we set aside feelings -and even strong desires- to allow us to accurately assess the consequences of moving forward.

Think about Eve again. How different would things have been if she paused long enough to consider the implications of the disobeying the clear instructions God had so lovingly given? Could that have given her the strength to disengage and reject the serpent’s temptations?

Think about yourself.  What kind of mental, physical or emotional pain could you avoid if you conscientiously remembered God’s warnings and believed that what He said was true? Could you avert an avoidable disaster? How could that change your present and, consequently, your future?

The New Testament encourages us to flee “all sorts of evil” and instead “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.” (1 Tim. 6:11).  In today’s society that often means deleting a text, closing social media, ending a conversation, choosing not to click on a link, or just moving on to a new environment. So, before you stick your “paddle” out to get a closer look at something  dangerous, pause long enough to consider whether the best option is to look in the other direction and paddle on to safer waters.

 

23 thoughts on “The Danger of Curiosity

  1. Great post. Great read. You’re the best blogger I read who can take an everyday personal experience and turn it into an inspiring, encouraging, thought-provoking blog post. Thank you for sharing. And God bless.

    1. Thanks Steve! I’m so glad that you are encouraged and challenged. You’re kind words just made my day! May God continue to further and deepen your ministry!

  2. Thanks for re-telling the story of Eve. You put a new light on it, and on our absolute need for God. I’m so glad He gave us his word of truth to guide us!
    The snake story had me shivering. ug!

  3. Maybe it’s normal in America for people to go canoeing in a place infested with alligators, but for me it seems completely crazy! As for taking a look a brightly coloured snake, I thought most people knew that they are brightly coloured for a reason – obviously not!

    With regards to Eve, it shows the importance of knowing the Word of God, rather than what you think God said. Eve started getting into trouble when she misquoted God by saying that couldn’t touch the tree in question – which wasn’t what God said. It also shows that rather than debating with the devil, we should be quick to speak the Word of God to him and refuse to listen to his lies, because when we do that he will flee.

  4. Great post! Your point about social media is so true. Some people try to instigate or push our buttons. It’s important to walk away, but sometimes hard to do. Thanks for sharing at Together on Tuesdays 🙂

  5. Ouch! Glad he’s okay. Good lesson from a scary incident. Satan knew how to use curiosity with Eve and He knows how to use it still with us. Good reminder to just paddle the other way and not feel the need to satisfy the curiosity. — Thanks for sharing with #ChasingCommunity today, Karen! ((hug))

  6. Hmnnn… Bless God his life was spared.
    This calls for really great caution and sensitivity to God’s leadings and promptings. God help us all to know when to go or not, when to look any further or stop…
    Thanks a lot for sharing this with us Karen, do have a super blessed day!

  7. Such good thoughts here, Karen, and I like the analogy between these two stories. I think believing God, as you say, is true. So often we feel like we’re “missing out” when in fact God is trying to protect us. Wise words. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Thanks for sharing Karen. Too often I found myself curiously thinking about things that could have been or could be if I only chose to… This type of thinking often gets me into trouble and affects some of my most precious relationships. So, I have to continually remind myself to “set my mind on things above” (Col 3:2).

  9. That snake story scared me! What a perfect illustration for this important truth. Curiosity can be a good thing but you’re right, we need to always be mindful of the Word of God and heed HIs warnings. Thank you for this encouragement. I’m visiting today from #momentsofhope

    1. It’s easy to distracted by the world’s ‘colorful things’ and lose track of where we are. That’s why we have to moor ourselves to His Word! Thx Dawn!

  10. Yes, thank you for writing these words. The often toxic environment on social media right now is challenging to my daily attitude toward humanity. I’ve spent more time in prayer than ever before. Your story today gives me an excellent illustration to keep in mind as I decide how to spend my time. Thank you!

    1. I had the same problem back in the fall. I took a break and realized how better I feel since it’s virtually impossible to think about only what is “true, right, excellent, praiseworthy” etc when surrounded by all the negativity in the world. Paddle on!

  11. Thank you for giving me a new perspective on a story from the Bible that I sometimes don’t think much about because it is so familiar. I love the application you made to the wisdom we need to seek so that we don’t stick our paddles out to get a closer look at things that might be dangerous. I’m challenged to be more careful in my curiosity. Thank you! And, thanks so much for sharing your post at Encouraging Word Wednesday!

    1. That’s the problem with so many of the Bible stories that we read… the tendency is to jump to the end and miss new insights. I have to constantly ask God to help me see what He has for me TODAY. Thanks for stopping by Charlie!

  12. Indeed, curiosity can be dangerous! Your last sentence summed up the best advice: ” So, before you stick your “paddle” out to get a closer look at something dangerous, pause long enough to consider whether the best option is to look in the other direction and paddle on to safer waters.”

  13. EEWWWW! Just thinking about the snake and the bite gives me shivers. Curiosity is a wonderful thing but spending time with the Lord and knowing His will for every situation is far more important. This post will give me food for thought with times when I just want to walk around this corner or that without knowing if I am walking alone or with the Lord..

    1. Every time we talk about this story with my teenagers, we laugh at the ridiculous decision to mess with a snake of any kind, but then the application is always sobering… how often do we make stupid and easily avoidable mistakes? Not so funny when it’s me! But hopefully, the more closely we walk with Christ, the easier it will be to hear his voice tell us to just move on. Thanks Linda

  14. Karen, thanks for this wonderful article that illustrates how easily we can be drawn to things of this world that can cause us harm. Thanks for the encouragement to pause and consider the implications in the light of God’s word. I was inspired & encouraged.

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