The vital quality of innocence

Cherishing our God-given innocence helps to propel our own and others’
ongoing progress as Christian followers.

Describing someone as “innocent” might sound rather negative, maybe indicating that they’re naive, unsophisticated, or unable to cope with life’s more complex challenges. To give another perspective, though, one definition for innocence in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary is “freedom from guilt or sin through being unacquainted with evil: Blamelessness.” As we become more closely acquainted with God, good, as pure divine Truth, we discover our God-given innocence and well-being as God’s reflection.

Correspondingly, we start to see evil impressions or suggestions as having no authority or place in our thinking and lives. This means we can actively refuse to engage with unhelpful, untruthful, divisive theories, including conspiracy theories from any viewpoint. This negative information can tend to overwhelm us, but holding thought to our God-given ability to express innocent trust in Him purifies our motives and our thinking.

This innocence isn’t unwise; it’s an intelligent, active response to the world’s needs. Biblical writers characterized innocence as a God-given quality to cherish and cultivate. The Apostle Paul, writing to the early Christians in Corinth about the worldly temptations they faced, reminds them to take care that their minds are not corrupted “from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Corinthians 11:3). Eugene Peterson’s The Message phrases it, “from the simple purity of your love for Christ.” The Greek word haplotēs, translated in the King James Version as simplicity, can also mean purity, generosity, or singleness of heart (see Geoffrey W. Bromiley,  Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume). And these are certainly healthful and beneficial qualities to express.

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‘Lo, I am with you alway’
July 19, 2021

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