By Warren Wiersbe
Some people prefer not to know what's going on, because information might bring obligation. 'What you don't know can't hurt you,' says the old adage; but is it true? In a letter to a Mrs. Foote, Mark Twain wrote, 'All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.' But what we don't know could hurt us a great deal! There are people in the cemetery who chose not to know the truth. The slogan for the 1987 AIDS publicity campaign was 'Don't die of ignorance'; and that slogan can be applied to many areas of life besides health.
Nehemiah asked about Jerusalem and the Jews living there because he had a caring heart. When we truly care about people, we want the facts, no matter how painful they may be. 'Practical politics consists in ignoring facts,' American historian Henry Adams said; but Aldous Huxley said, 'Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.' Closing our eyes and ears to the truth could be the first step toward tragedy for ourselves as well as for others.
Are we like Nehemiah, anxious to know the truth even about the worst situations? Is our interest born of concern or idle curiosity? When we read missionary prayer letters, the news in religious periodicals, or even our church's ministry reports, do we want the facts, and do the facts burden us? Are we the kind of people who care enough to ask?
Think about it: "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Phil. 2:4, niv).