We’re all familiar with the story of the first fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve. But we’re less aware that there is a “slip” before every Fall, and many of us fail to avoid it.
Genesis tells us of the first fall of Adam and Eve. But what I want to draw your attention to is the very start of it. The “slip” that started what became the first fall:
“Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the creatures that the Lord God had made. The serpent asked the woman, ‘Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?’ The woman answered the serpent….”
The serpent (the devil) spoke to Eve. And Eve, having listened, answered.
The result of this exchange between Eve and the devil was that Eve, having listened to the devil’s lies, made herself open to temptation and then chose to disobey God by eating of the forbidden fruit. She then gave the fruit to Adam, and he ate it, too.
This was the first fall of man, the first sin that cost humanity its state of grace and brought suffering and death into the human experience. What do you think might have prevented all of this from happening? We think of Eve’s first mistake as the eating of the fruit. But that was her first sin. What was her first mistake which led to that sin? What was the slip that lead to the fall? You already read the answer. Look again:
The serpent spoke…and Eve listened.
If Eve had chosen not to listen to “the most cunning creature in God’s creation” when it started to speak, she might not have been talked into eating the fruit and giving it to Adam. She gave in to curiosity and listened, giving attention to something unworthy of her attention.
Curiosity can be a good thing when it leads us to worthy discovery. But most of the time, our curiosity is unregulated and causes us to focus our attention on unworthy things, giving the devil an opportunity to work on us.
Eve’s curiosity served as the slip before the Fall. Her curiosity was what led to temptation, and temptation led to sin. The devil is masterful at manipulating us by way of our curiosity. He uses our curiosity to lead us into temptation or occasions for sin. Here are two examples.
News: Over-consumption of news makes us fearful, sad, and angry and causes us to lose our inner peace. These are emotions that the devil exploits to draw us away from God, from our confidence and trust in His care, and from the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity. This unsettled state of mind and heart often leads us to other sins. But even when it doesn’t instantly lead us to other sins, it distracts our minds and keeps us away from more worthy things. How much time have you spent reading or watching the news today? How much time did you spend in prayer or reading scripture? Do you see an imbalance? Give more of your attention to worthy things
Gossip: How often does gossip lead a person to pride, seeing themselves as greater than the person or people they’re gossiping about? Gossip comes from curiosity, pride comes from gossip, and pride is the mother of all vices (sins). Listening to or spreading gossip in the form of rumor, hearsay, or slander makes us accomplices or co-conspirators in the destruction of the reputations of others. We become assailants of the Image of God in others. Our curiosity for gossip—whether listening to it or spreading it—inspires subsequent uncharitable behavior. The cycle would be broken if we just refused to give in to curiosity.
They say curiosity killed the cat. But cats are said to have nine lives. We only have one. And it’s a life worth living well. Don’t squander it by giving in to curiosity. Sometimes curiosity is healthy, but often, it is not. It can potentially get us into trouble. Control your curiosity and focus on things that are worthy of your attention. Because what has your attention has your mind, and what has your mind, in time, has your heart. How many of the trivial things in the world are deserving of your heart?