There is a scene in the Lord of the Rings movie where Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry return to the Shire after their long dangerous quest. They look around at their fellow countrymen and see that the people and the Shire seem different, but in reality it was they who had changed. Frodo especially had changed as a result of suffering a wound inflicted by an evil enemy. The knife that stabbed him in the shoulder was evil and the wound never completely healed.
As a young man I thought I was sophisticated by dabbling in many of the sins the world offers. I thought fellow Christians who never indulged the world’s sins to be simpletons. At middle age I still carry many of the physical, emotional, and spiritual scars of those sinful dalliances. Those “simple” Christians now seem wise. Even though we can find redemption and forgiveness, it doesn’t always mean the scars from wounds caused by sins go away. Even Christ has scars in his hands and feet, and he was sinless, though his scars were inflicted by sinful people. Sin is the most harmful and toxic thing we will encounter in this life. Sin even had the ability, indirectly, to scar the Son of God. That’s how dangerous it is.
When it comes to sin, there is something to be said for remaining in a state of innocence. In the Bible, God expresses his pleasure with innocence, including innocence from curiosity and experimentation with sin and having no desire to explore other gods and forms of spirituality.
In Matthew 10:16 Jesus says, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
In this verse I think Christ is trying to tell us that we should not live under a rock, so to speak, when it comes to living in the world. But he also warns us to remain in a state of innocence. It is in our best interest to remain childlike in our trust in Christ while passing through this life, but also aware of the many manifestations of sin in our cultures. It can be a difficult path to walk.
I don’t believe God wants us to be ignorant of fire; he just doesn’t want us to play with fire (metaphorically).