What You Don’t Know “Can” Hurt You is the direct opposite wording of a commonly-used phrase.

What you don’t know can’t hurt you is what we’ve often been led to believe. And to be honest, I’ve said it myself over the years. Let’s look at the flaws lurking beneath the surface of this ridiculous off-centered statement to uncover why living life with our heads in the sand is dangerous on so many levels.

First: Driving from here to there

If we don’t know when to make lane changes, stop at railroad crossings, pay attention to detours, or how to map our travels from Oregon to California, life on the road would be chaos. School zones would be unsafe and accidents would be strewn everywhere.

Second: Eating healthy

With obesity on the rise, heart health a concern, and an increase in people with gluten free, allergy-prone issues (to name a few), there’s a serious need to know what’s in our food; the calorie counts, fat content, and carbohydrates, grains, dairy, etc. that make up the foods we put into our mouths and serve on our dinner tables. The best advice is to read the labels. Know our own health concerns and push temptation aside when shopping for groceries or eating out. What we don’t know could bring us unwanted troubles.

Third: Job safety

Most jobs have safety rules to pay attention to. Wearing goggles and dust masks, close-toed shoes rather than sandals, and hard hats for construction work makes good sense. Otherwise, accidents could happen and a trip to the emergency room might be our lot. If we didn’t know about certain pollen in the air, our lungs could be damaged.

Sexual harassment is a big concern in most workplaces today. There are rules for social behavior that are meant to keep inter-office relationships moving respectfully along so the real work can be done in company-pleasing ways. When ignored, jobs can be lost, legal action taken, or our names could become front page news in all the wrong ways. It is important to know what’s expected in our workplaces—for our own good and the good of the company.

Fourth: Family Life

What if we were never taught to say “please” and “thank you”, or given a bedtime? For life to be pleasant on the home-front, we establish boundaries within the family. If a teen thinks ignoring the curfew based on believing his/her parents have fallen asleep and “what they don’t know won’t hurt them”, the end result will likely backfire. Privileges will be taken away, trust broken, and sometimes worse. Some parents get a call from the police station because of an accident or peer pressure involving their child to do something that should not have been done.

Fifth: What you don’t know can hurt you

Please take the time to think through what you believe. If we all do this, we will be less vulnerable to accepting lies as truth. Our lives will be happier. Rules are there for a reason. They protect. They keep highway systems safe and leaders from becoming dictators. Sometimes rules need to change, but it should be done in ways that show respect; ways without public protests or rioting in the streets which carry the potential to cause bodily harm or property damage.

In the future, when we hear, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.”, question what the downside might be. And when in doubt, seek sound counsel. If we have solid foundational beliefs, we will likely have a good sense of discernment. Pray for wisdom.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.