Today's Insight from Chuck Swindoll

If the truth were known, there's a secret "detective spirit" in most of us. With the best of the paperback and television detectives, we vicariously probe for motives, analyze the evidence, and ponder the killer's next move. Our curiosity forces us to investigate things that are just slightly irregular.

Even a child is known to pry deeper because of a built-in bent to inquire. It often leads to danger, but nobody would deny that that inquisitive nature is proof of a keen (often creative) mind. As growth occurs, this desire to question and challenge increases . . . often exasperating lazy-minded adults and easily threatened parents. While I would agree that it can be overdone, I am nevertheless convinced that Curiosity and Challenge are the healthy twins in the Discernment family. They are dressed alike until they grow up and become more refined and distinct.

But there is a difference between the expressions of discernment and raw suspicion. The difference may be veiled, but it is real. It lies in the realm of motive. Suspicion is the act of suspecting something wrong without proof or evidence. It is mistrust . . . doubt . . . skepticism . . . extreme or negative caution.

Curiosity sees a cast on a leg and asks, "What happened?" Suspicion wonders if anything happened.

Curiosity listens to a speaker and thinks, "How did he come up with that—what's his technique?" Suspicion doubts the validity of the statement or the motive of the speaker . . . or both.

Curiosity observes an irregularity and challenges simply, "Why?" Suspicion entertains the immediate idea, "What's wrong here? Who's to blame—who's at fault?"

Curiosity analyzes with neutral, unprejudiced wisdom while suspicion frowns and looks for deception and subterfuge. Curiosity listens to logic, common sense, and reason . . . suspicion looks for something hidden, something held back.

Both curiosity and suspicion may be terribly persistent, but one stays with the facts while the other strays beyond the facts—and in so doing, develops without the facts.

It was with commendable curiosity Moses investigated the burning bush in the Midian desert:

"I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up." (Exodus 3:3)

But it was with an entirely different spirit Saul observed David in the king's court:

Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on. (1 Samuel 18:9)

What a remarkable contrast!

Moses saw and then couldn't imagine . . . Saul imagined and then couldn't see.


Moses's investigation resulted in hearing God . . . Saul's imagination resulted in condemning David.


Moses turned aside because a bush kept burning . . . Saul changed within because he kept burning.


Curiosity and suspicion may look similar, but one leads to life and one leads to death.

Excerpt taken from Come before Winter and Share My Hope by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 1985, 1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

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