It is better not to know, than to know and do nothing.
“For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.” (2 Peter 2:20-21)
The other day, I was talking to Melanie, and something she said burrowed deep into my mind and wouldn’t budge. It was something she had been learning in Physics, of all subjects, (she’s amazing!)—God holds us responsible for what we know.
God holds us responsible for what we know.
You know what this means, don’t you? And fair warning in a blinking, neon pop-up (or maybe a sentence will have to do): If you don’t want that responsibility of knowing, you can shrug your shoulders and exit now.
(But then you'd have to deal with the consequences of ignoring. :-)
So here it is: if God holds us responsible for what we know, then knowledge is as sensitive an operation as nitroglycerin. And just as dangerous.
Because knowing yet doing nothing is called looking the other way with a deaf eye, blind ear, and all of that. It’s different than willful ignorance—it’s more like willful ignoring. And it’s despised the most by the very ones who are the most guilty.
It’s knowing how to do [fill in the blank] in Physics, or English, or Math, but reading novels instead, and letting your grades suffer.
It’s seeing a man lying beaten by the side of the road and walking by on the other side, whistling the Doxology.
It’s knowing that over 4,000 babies will be aborted today in America and doing nothing to stop that.
It’s knowing that Christ could come back today, and not telling that person you meet at the store about Him and, for that matter, not living like a Christian either. It's knowing that Christ is God, but that you have not received Him as such, and still not humbling yourself before Him and confessing that He is Lord.
But knowledge isn’t the problem here. And there’s nothing wrong with the neuroconnectors from the brain to the arm, either. The problem is laziness and selfishness—pure and simple.
Do you have to go out there on a crusade to right every wrong, dry every tear, and heal every disease? No.
You just have to act on what you know—you are responsible for what you know, the opportunities you have been given, and the gifts you have cultivated. Not purging that sin that God revealed to you last night, not devoting one hundred percent to your school or mothering or whatever God has you doing, not stepping in to fill the need for a pianist at church—these are drastically wrong.
Throughout history there have been the ages of exploration, enlightenment, and reason. Now we live in the Age of Information where knowledge is pummeled at us like balls at a McDonald’s playland. All that knowledge is wearing and utterly exhausting, I know. With just a click of a button you can Google whatever it is you want to know, with no accountability for follow-up.
But then, every age had its pummeling:
“Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent….And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.” (Matthew 11:20, 23-24)
William Wilberforce once said, in regards to the apathy of his age regarding slavery: “Having heard all of this, you may choose to look the other way…but you can never say again that you did not know.”
So don’t be the one to have to tell your great-grandchildren what you did not do.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.