Curiosity Kills: The Internet and Worthless Things

It’s a familiar scenario. You open your Facebook app to check a notification. You blink and you have been cruising through status updates for 25 minutes. Or maybe it this: While at lunch with a friend someone asks, “How old is Robert DeNiro?” And you immediately ask Siri or google it and BAM! 72. How did we ever get by without this information?!? Or maybe it’s this, you look up DeNiro and when you get to the page with the info, there is a sidebar…It likely contains some other piece or juicy information that, at least in the moment, you just can’t live without. It almost always is an innocent subject, but a couple clicks in, it begins to be a bit more gray. Suddenly, one of the articles on your sidebar is something like, 10 Photos of Celebrities You Have To See To Believe. Wow! Once you click, the first few are embarrassing picks of them in sweats, carrying their children, or women without their makeup or a pic of them at some social event with an unlikely friend. Then, without warning, the next photo is of said celebrity on the beach in a bikini or snuggled up to a person who is not their spouse or any number of other situations that we, the public, are curious to see, but have no business seeing, much less enjoying.

How do I know this? Because, just last night, I experienced it, again. While having a conversation with my son, we mused about the age of the Queen of England. Don’t ask me how we got to that subject… We are curious that way. Anyway, when I found the answer, there was another article about how she may be passing the throne to her grandson, not her son! Scandalous!! At the bottom of this article was one of those 10 pics links. This one was about Woodstock. So, curious as I am, I clicked it. Then, quickly closed it. Why? Because the first image was of a naked hitchhiker on her way to the famed festival wearing a placard to strategically cover herself (but not doing it very well). Here’s the thing, I was not searching for some site to indulge my flesh, but still, there she was on my phone. Not even my Covenant Eyes filter caught it. My curious mind had to know, right?

The old saying, “Curiosity killed the cat” may need to be brought back for this generation. This is a trick of the enemy in this information saturated age. He engages our curiosity in totally benign ways and slowly places the breadcrumbs of desire on our handheld screen until he has brought before us an obvious opportunity to sin. Whether or not we take the bait, he still has us in a precarious position. If we continue clicking, we will typically indulge in more images until our curiosity has successfully led us past our conscience into sin that we never intended to venture toward at all. At some point, you begin to feel guilt and close your browser. At this point, the believer (rightfully) should confess this sin to God and turn away and back to Christ for the forgiveness He offers. But the enemy is just getting started. There is a low level sense of shame that envelopes the believer and is not easy to shake. This is not so easy to shake, because, well, you did willfully click your way into this. If you did close the browser at the first inappropriate image, the enemy still tries to send shame your way because, well, your flesh does want to see more than you should. It’s the Spirit of God in us that leads us to turn away. It’s also the Spirit of God in us that uses the Word to remind us of how our condemnation is not from God (Romans 8:1).

So how do we deal with this “curiosity”?

Believe it or not, the Psalms give us patterns to deal with these tech-savvy sins. It’s as if the LORD knew we would deal with these things. 🙂

“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in Your ways.” – Psalm 119:37 ESV

I know this seems simplistic, and I realize that freedom from sin comes by walking with God with others who are struggling, as well as seeking God in His Word and in prayer and worship. But this is a great prayer to pray. Before, and after, curiosity attempts to kill us. There is real life in the ways of God. Not just interesting information about the world or people that we will never meet. He is in the habit of walking with us when we are tempted and He extends grace to forgive and set free when we sin. Let’s make a fresh resolution to pursue Him with determination and in the meantime, kill our curiosity before it tries to kill us.

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