How the Curse of Knowledge Can Become the Cause of Cursing
by J Warner Wallace
I follow and post in several Christian internet groups. Some of them are evangelistic groups, some are theological, and some are philosophical or apologetics based. Some groups are simply people who love Jesus and want to talk about Him. I enjoy reading the posts, but like others who visit or post on these sites, I rarely comment unless I am particularly moved or interested in a topic. In the thousands of interactions I’ve had with Christians who post and comment in these groups, I can honestly say the most contentious and un-Christlike comments typically come from those Christians who consider themselves the most educated and theologically (or philosophically) knowledgeable. I see it repeatedly: the more someone thinks they know, the more likely they are to act pridefully, write condemningly, or speak harshly. I bet you’ve seen the same pattern. Knowledge can become a curse for many of us, leading to us to puff up and treat others poorly, especially if they disagree with a position we’ve examined carefully or hold dearly.
I am no exception to this distasteful inclination. I noticed it in my own attitude even as a relatively new Christian. I grew up playing guitar and when I first started watching worship teams, I found myself focused solely on the guitar players. I was distracted by them at the very least, often critical of
them if I saw something I thought I could do better. I caught myself early and had to work hard to check my pride at the door. After all, I was supposed to be worshiping God, yet here I was, critiquing the guitar players! I’ve known a few speakers who have confided a similar experience when watching other speakers. Instead of hearing (and enjoying) what a speaker had to say, they found themselves critiquing and evaluating the delivery of the speaker or the content of his (or her) message.
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? If you’ve studied theology or philosophy, have you ever caught yourself judging a sermon or speech? Do you find yourself more critical of your pastor than you were when you were a younger, less knowledgeable Christian? It’s easy to become critical when you think you know something. Knowledge can become a curse when it’s inflated by pride. I wish I was immune to this form of pride and arrogance, but I know I’m not. So I have to actively engage the “curse of knowledge” to make sure it doesn’t become the source of my own bitterness, sarcasm or criticism. Here are three simple steps I employ to make sure the curse of knowledge doesn’t become a source of cursing, particularly when I’m interacting online…
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