An old saying goes something like, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” There may be some truth to that saying, but it’s certainly not true in every case. Many people have eaten contaminated food, not knowing it was contaminated, and got sick as a result. In some cases, people have died! They ate it, not knowing that it was tainted, but not knowing did not keep them from being hurt.
All kinds of similar situations could be described to illustrate the point. Sometimes, what you don’t know won’t hurt you, but a great many times, what you don’t know can cause you great harm. And, if you knew the danger was there, lurking in the shadows, you could take steps to safeguard against it. Not knowing makes you all the more vulnerable.
Sin is a lot like that. The devil is very skillful at hiding the consequences of sin, especially the most serious consequences. Isaiah wrote, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5:20). If the full consequences of sin were apparent, immediately upon being confronted with the temptation, virtually nobody would sin! But the devil presents temptation in a way that makes sin look good, pleasant, even wholesome. Not until the sucker is fully lured in does the ugliness of sin become visible. Even then, the full danger might not be apparent.
If a person could see up front the end result of getting started doing drugs, he’d never start. If he could see his fried brain, his wasted physical condition, his depraved morals, the pain and torment his habit would ultimately bring to his family and those who really care about him, he wouldn’t pop the first pill, smoke the first joint or take the first hit. The same could be said about the person who ends up addicted to alcohol, gambling, pornography or any other self-destructive, addictive lifestyle. It could also be said of somebody who heads down any of the side streets off the main road of morality in general. It looks OK to begin with, but what you don’t see can kill you!
As already stated, the devil is highly skilled at deluding folks. Even though a person sees the destruction those kinds of lifestyles have led to in others, he doesn’t see the danger to his own life. He thinks it’ll be OK for him; he can practice those things without consequence, he can get away with it. He sees, but he doesn’t see.
The most serious consequence of sin that people often don’t see is how it affects them spiritually. They often don’t see how sin is eating them up inside, changing who they are, how they think. And, they don’t recognize how sin has separated them from God. Even worse, they don’t see eternal damnation in Hell awaiting them at the end of their road of sin. How awful! Not just what is easy to see about sin, but even more what you can’t see…
Gary L. Hutchens