“You’re so Innocent!”

Have you ever been made fun of for being so innocent?

I have.

Innocence isn’t something our culture values.

But God does.

The other day I read a verse I’d never noticed before,

“I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil” (Rom. 16:19).

Interesting, huh? We get that mixed up. We tend to be wise about evil but innocent about good.

If your friends find out that you’re innocent about something evil, they’ll likely laugh incredulously, “She doesn’t know about ______?!”

Innocence about evil is not a curse. It is a gift.

They’ll be more than happy to fill you in on all the dirty details. But even if they don’t, it’s easier than ever to learn about evil. All you have to do is pull up Google, and you’re a couple clicks away from moving from innocent to world-wise just like that.

So . . . will you?

A Word to Innocents:

I know you can feel like an outsider when your friends start talking and laughing about something you know nothing about. The fact is, you are an outsider. But that’s a wonderful thing! If you belong to Christ, you’re new now. Different. You belong to another kingdom. A far better one. Don’t try to fit in with the darkness; walk as a daughter of light. Never think your innocence about evil is a curse. It is a gift. Keep guarding your eyes and mind!

A Word to the World-Wise:

If you’re already “world-wise,” is it too late for you? Not at all! Ask God to make you as curious about “good” and right living as you’ve been about evil. Stop making fun of those who are more innocent than you. Don’t try to “help” them anymore by filling them in on evil. Be transformed by washing your mind with Scripture (Rom. 12:2).

A Word to Youth Leaders:

Several years ago, I asked a young woman if she thought I needed to know certain “worldly” things in order to effectively minister to teens. She said I didn’t and encouraged me to continue to seek to know the Word of God above all. How grateful I am for her wise advice. I am not aware of any ministry opportunities I have lost as a result, and there are so many dirty thoughts I don’t have to battle as a result.

I’d love to hear from you. Would you consider yourself innocent or world-wise? What is one thing you can practically do this week to pursue being “wise as to what is good”?

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York.

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

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  • Michelle_

    thank you so much

  • Funmi ✞

    great talk Paula!

  • Tani

    Thank you for this this morning! This is exactly what I needed 🙂

  • Dancer on tip toe

    I have been made fun of because of being innocent before too. Thank you for writing this Miss Paula! It help me to see what to do next time this does happen!

  • Laney

    My college textbooks are ruining my innocence… gen eds, I should mention. Can somebody help me?

    • Azi

      What classes?

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      Your comment reminded me of Daniel in the Scriptures, Laney. He was actually taken captive (read prisoner-of-war) and then immersed into the cultural ways of his captors. “Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the
      sons of Israel…and he ordered him to teach them the literature and the language
      of the Chaldeans (Daniel 1:3-4).

      For three years Daniel was exposed to things he never would have chosen in a culture where he was being held captive. Pretty tough stuff for a young teenage boy. But
      Daniel 1:5 tells us, “Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself”
      (specifically in regard to the kings food).

      You can choose to do the same, Laney. Set your mind on the truth. Ask the Lord to help you know how to respond, what classes to take or not take. How to graciously defend your faith and the truth of God’s Word in an anti-Christian culture. He will show
      you, my friend. He has promised to do that. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding
      fault, and it will be given to you ( James 1:5).”

      Praying you will become a” Daniel” in your day, Laney.

      Grace and peace,

      Carrie

  • Elizabeth Williams

    That can be really hard when you feel that you’re not up on all the current stuff. Like, you haven’t seen the latest movie everyone’s talking about, or haven’t heard the newest song everyone’s listening to, etc. But we don’t have to be a part of the world to reach the world!

  • Maddi

    I appreciate what you’re saying. I used to be made fun of for being innocent, and because of my immaturity I let myself slip into some new sins. In hindsight though, I still think it’s helpful to “know the enemy.” Some sins can be accidentally found, and I’d rather be able to defend against them by beig taught what they are. Also, how can you help people with sins you don’t know about? For example, I’m not saying you have to watch porn, masturbate, or get high (I genuinely apologize if that’s tmi or too explicit for someone), but I wouldn’t know how to help someone who struggled with any of those if I didn’t know something about them. How do you balance knowing the enemy enough to fight it and being ignorant of the enemy? Because the Bible also says to be wise as serpants but gentle as doves.

    • Jesusfreak17

      That is true. I was (and still am) struggling with a sin for a long time and I tried to confess but I didn’t know what it was called so I was quite unsuccessful for a long time

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      As followers of Jesus we do indeed have an enemy, Maddi. Scripture tells us we are to be alert, on guard, watchful, and prayerful because our enemy is like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy while Jesus came to bring abundant life (John 10:10).

      We resist the enemy ourselves and help others do the same not by becoming experts
      of sin or the enemy, but by saturating our hearts and minds in the truth of God’s
      Word. We always fight sin (in whatever way it is manifesting itself in our
      lives) with the truth!

      Here’s your challenge, friend: begin reading, studying, memorizing and soaking in as
      much of God’s Word as you can this summer! Ask Jesus to create a longing, a
      craving in you for His Word. You’ll become a mighty princess warrior of King
      Jesus, friend; one who is able to fight sin in her own life and to help others,
      as well.

      Grace and peace,
      Carrie

      P.S. When you get a chance take a look at the context of the passage you mentioned, Maddi. Matthew 10:16 refers to the suffering and persecution we will face as believers in Jesus not specifically to our fight against sin.

  • Rebecca Brown

    I’m EXTREMELY innocent for a 15 year old… and I’ve been made fun of for it for so long! This post has been such an encouragement to me! I won’t worry about my innocence anymore. I’ll treasure it from now on.

  • Joy

    I certainly have been told a number of times how cute and innocent I am by a lot of my wordly and experiened friends. They are right, I am innocent of many evil, sinful, and twisted things. I do, however, know all about them. This is where I disagree with one of your main points. I have always understood innocence to be a lack of experience, not knowledge. My amazing and godly parents considered it important to inform my siblings and I on the things of the world. They explained what people who don’t honor God do, and why it is wrong. From a very young age (about 6), I knew how sex worked and how it was a beautiful act only to be shared with two people after they are married. My parents wanted to be sure that the first time that I heard of certain things, that they would be told by them with a biblical explanation. I’m so happy they informed me early on. I had some friends whose Christian parents shelterd them to an extreme (some weren’t even allowed to visit the art museum for fear that they would be exposed to statutes of naked men). Of course they were well meaning parents, but I am happy to have been given many facts (albeit some rather gross ones), and to know that they exist. But rather than to focus on them, we should focus on Christ and whatever is “nobel, pure, and good”.

    So here I am at 19 years old and still very innocent, not having kissed a boy yet (even though I’ve had many opportunities to do so). I am comfortable waiting and want to wait for Gods timing. When some people tell me that I don’t know what I’m missing (especially sexual stuff), I’ll tell them that I understand exactly what I’m “missing” and choose to wait does Gods timing to experience those things.

    I also am happy that my parents explained drugs in depth to me when I was young. Same idea there except that their is never a “God’s timing” when it comes to illegal substances.

    While I absolutley agree that we should be innocent in regard to evil, I consider innocence to be a lack of experience rather than information.

    Thanks for this reminder on the importance and beauty of innocence 😊

    • Maddi

      Thank you! I think you articulated what I wanted to say earlier a lot better than I did! Haha! 😝😁

    • Jess

      Thank you Joy! I’m so glad to here how well you have turned out even though you learned about sex at such a young age. That’s how I want to be with my children, but I needed a little boost of confidence 😉 I want too teach them these things while they are young so I can be sure they hear them from a Christian perspective first and understand that sex is good, but it’s only meant for married couples.

    • Leah

      I agree with you, except I do think that there is an exception of someone who is learning unnecessary ways of the world for their own desire. I mean like anything, your heart really needs to be in the right place. So sometimes knowledge maybe isn’t innocent if it isn’t gained correctly or with the right intentions. But I think in your case you’re definitely innocent. Praise the Lord for that 😉

  • Mia W

    I’m not only Christian but also homeschooled and naïveté has been my theme song for as long as I can remember.
    I often catch myself trying to make myself appear more worldly than I really am, but to really honor God maybe I need to rejoice in and share my innocence with others without shame.

  • A K-Pop Fan

    I have been called innocent more times than I can count on my fingers, toes, and other varying appendages. In fact one of my friends felt it necessary to cover my ears before loudly proclaiming “I FU&K!#€ HATE THIS!” I just want her to stop. She even tells my friends “Stop talking about that. My little Hannah is too innocent to know what that word means” in a baby-talk voice. One of my other friends knows that I don’t prefer curse words, so she doesn’t curse in front of me to be respectful, but that first friend is getting on my nerves. Please advise.

    • Elizabeth Williams

      Sounds like she’s not such a great friend? I know that sounds harsh, but a true friend wouldn’t want to make you feel bad like that or put you down in any way. And though you should obviously seek to be a light and an encouragement to her, it’s probably not the wisest decision to be close friends.

  • Emily

    Wow, I just read that verse in Romans this morning in my quiet time, so it was nice to see it again. 🙂 I get made fun of so many times for being innocent. I also get called “naive, dumb, goody-goody, pure,” etc. I’m not even that innocent, though. Going through my teenager years has introduced me to a lot of the junk that is in the world. I’ve decided there is actually more to this innocent thing than we think there is. Naive, in my opinion, is not knowing the twisted things out there. Innocent, on the other hand, is knowing the twisted things out there, but CHOOSING not to dwell on them. Choosing not to talk about them. Choosing to act “naive”, but not actually being that way. It reminds me of the verse that says “Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves”. I think this means to be aware of sin that is out there (not necessarily the nitty-gritty details, but the basic idea of it) so we are not shocked or disorientated by it when it is brought to our attention, but to choose to dwell on that which is pure and good and honors God.
    Ultimately, I think we should try to steer clear of the darkness in the world, but if we learn of it, we don’t have to necessarily ‘lose our innocence’. We just lose our naivety. But we can still CHOOSE to act and think in innocence. 🙂 See, in my mind, innocence isn’t just based on lack of knowledge. It’s also a choice.

    • Elizabeth Williams

      That’s pretty good!

  • Me:)

    I definitely have mixed feelings about what innocence is… I have never done drugs, had sex, drank alcohol, or even kissed anyone. But I will say that I know a lot. Partially because I have a brother who is an alcoholic and has done drugs, but partially because it feels very wrong to hear my friends talking about something that I have NO idea what they’re talking about. In a way I felt disconnected from them, which now I understand was sometimes a good thing. It’s not always good to understand what people are talking about… but at the same time, I want to be able to minister; and not knowing what the word “twerk” meant (literally had no idea what it meant at first) would have resulted in me not understanding that my friend was being asked by guys at her school to wall twerk. I had to ask to understand what kind of world they are living in… I am homeschooled, so I can’t begin to imagine some of the stuff that a couple of my friends are going through… and in order to understand them better, I have had to expose myself to some nasty things. I would also like to clarify that there is a difference between innocence, being sheltered, and being naive. I think I’m taken for sheltered and naive a lot because I haven’t ever kissed, or done drugs, or drank… and I don’t plan to ever do drugs or drink, and I’m pretty open about that. But I think at some point it’s important to understand the world you’re in, the people you’re surrounded by, and the things they’ve gone through. Paul says ” 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” 1Cor9:20-23
    it’s important to make sure that you’re keeping a right heart in it all. Don’t just expose yourself to things just for the sake of making yourself feel less like an outcast. I have done things that I wish I wouldn’t have all in order to feel like I wasn’t naive or sheltered… and that took away part of my innocence. There is no need to listen to secular music to understand the World… there is no need to participate in pornography to understand someone who struggles with pornography addictions. Just be prayerful in what you expose yourself to. And be sure to surround yourself with good friends who can keep you accountable and will encourage you.

    • Leah

      I totally agree 🙂

  • Justagirl

    I feel like one hard thing for me is when my Christian friends tease me about this. They don’t really say it but I can almost feel it in the way some of them treat me “oh she’s too ‘holy’ for that”. It’s awkward cuz we are all part of the kingdom and I don’t want to judge them, I don’t want them to think I’m conceited, but I also don’t want to join in their conversation or jokes. Help??

    • Kiara

      I know completely how you feel!! Like I feel like when that happens I want to try and make the excuse that “Hey, they are Christians and they are joking around about this, why can’t I?” But just because they are christian friends doesn’t mean they don’t have the same struggles that we do. I’m more “world wise” then I used to be for that reason. I hated being kind of the outsider of the conversation. But I realized that being world wise sucks, because you begin to have dirtier thoughts instead of purely innocent ones. Even though the world hate the innocence, just think of when God will say to us, “Well done good and faithful servant”! It will be so worth the struggle right!? Hope this helps a little bit. 🙂

      • Marie

        I know this comment was two years ago, but I went through a similar experience of feeling ostracized because of my innocence. Through the process of eradicating it, I felt so deeply conflicted and one reason is because the way that I was being treated in part due to my innocence was so hurtful that I took to a search engine and in my attempts to learn about something I found things that were deeply disturbing. Among all things I think I’m somewhat scarred and I hope that with prayer and a deeper understanding and fervent attempt to know myself through God that I can recover. My mind has been contorted, and I had to face that there are some things I can’t unsee, but I will be cautious of what I lay my eyes on. For now I hope that I can recover and resist the temptations that I have abruptly fixated into my life. Thank you for making me feel as if I am not alone, even if it has been two years since this comment. If someone does read this I would ask for your prayer in helping me resist this new found temptation and to find a stronghold in the kingdom off God, in all aspects of my life.Also I would hope that this is a safe space and that people aren’t to bothered by my grammar errors and inconsistencies, but I do apologize. Thank you again.

        • Thank you for your honesty, Marie! We are so sorry to hear that a couple of clicks and a google search have left you wounded and battling. Please know that i have prayed for you today. God has the ability to heal and to bring beauty out of our brokenness as we bring it to Him. I encourage you to spend much time in the Word filling your heart and mind with pure truth. Do all you can to remove the temptations that may be leading you down the wrong path. Cry out to the Lord when memories assail you.

          The other thing that would be helpful to you is to confide in an older godly woman that you trust. Let her know about your battle so she can be praying for you, supporting you and holding you accountable by asking you the hard questions you need to hear. She can be someone you call when you are facing temptation as she can point you back to Jesus and keep you anchored in Him and His Word. Will you pray about doing that?

          God has a way through this, Marie! He can and will heal you as you continue to choose His way over the world’s way. It will be a process that takes time. But in the end, all this will be for your good and for His glory.

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      It’s ok, justagirl. There will be times when you’ll not be accepted or approved by other believers.

      You can be kind, thoughtful, and considerate and still choose not to enter into
      certain conversations.

      Our goal at the end of each day is found in 1 Thessalonians 2:4, “ For we
      speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our
      purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our
      hearts.” NLT

      Stand firm, sweet friend, is the grace and peace that is yours in Christ Jesus.
      Carrie

  • Florine

    I love this website. I often find myslf nodding vigorously because it’s confirmation to what I think about a lot and what I talk to my mom about sometimes. Thank you for this post!!!

  • Jamie

    A friend of mine has plans to attend public school instead of being homeschooled like she has always been. I know that alot of Christian kids go to public school and do fine, but I know that their is alot more temptation than being homeschooled. I know that I can’t make the decision for her, for I am neither her or her parents, but do you think it is better to stay homeschooled where she is more sheltered, or to expose herself to those things? One of the reasons she gives for wanting to go is so she can know about those things, but I think it is better to avoid that kind of stuff as much as possible. What do you think Paula (or anyone else). Should I encourage her to stick with her decision (im pretty sure she pressured her parents into letting her go), or should I attempt to convince her to do otherwise? And what exactly should I say? Please help, because I really worry for her and care about her and she is a good friend of mine.

    • Leah

      Hi Jamie. So I’m not an expert on your friend, but I go to public school and have to say that it really depends on who you are whether or not it’s a good idea for you. However, for me it’s been really good. I recently heard a sermon on being in the world but not of it, and one of the main points was that Christians often isolate themselves from the world which isn’t a godly thing to do because we’re meant to be a light to the world-something we can’t do without interaction. I am ABSOLUTELY NOT saying that your friend is isolating herself, or that any other homeschoolers are. But maybe it’s a good opportunity for her to interact with the world and shine her light. Overall, you just have to remember that God is sovereign and whatever she does, he’ll use it to bless her and ultimately glorify him. Praying for you and your friend both.

      • Jaime

        Thank you for your help Leah, you have a really good point 🙂 I’ve “met” alot of people on this blog that go to public school and do well. The issue is that alot of the people I know irl that go to public school have issues. As I’ve thought about it more, the real reason behind why they do some of the sins they do is probably rooted in home life issues. My friend has good parents so she will probably do fine and I’m probably over reacting. Sometimes I wonder if this is more just my problem with worrying too much, rather than her problem. Thanks again, you’ve really helped!

      • Jaime

        I’m begining to think that this is more just a difference in how I would raise my children, compared to how she is being raised, so I probs just need to let whatever she decides happen.

    • Leah

      Oh and you could probably just talk to her about why she wants to attend public school, and if she does, help her discuss anything hard out different that goes on there.

    • Branwen

      I’m being homeschooled this year, because the swirling cesspool of horrible people and hate otherwise known as middle school was a bad influence on me, and I am not strong enough to take that kind of stuff yet. I’m still recovering spiritually from certain things to be able to take middle school.

  • Jazzy

    Hi, Paula. Thank you sooo much for writing this! :/ I have friends who do talk to me like this, and, although I’m rarely offended, I feel the enemy trying to bite my head off! It’s so true though, innocence is beautiful in God’s eyes, and I want to have all of it! Thank you so much, so encouraging and so true. =)
    -Jazzy

    ( http://thetruthsofmyheart.wordpress.com )

  • Branwen

    When I was in elementary school, I was definitely an Innocent. I thought listening to pop was a sin!
    Several years later, I have a potty-mouth, a perverted mind, and something of an addiction to darkness. Through music and literature, especially. Which to choose, the purity of light, or the beautiful darkness, the darkness that has already marked my soul? Few words can describe the haunting, ethereal, otherworldly place that is the darkness. My soul aches for God, yet the darkness few understand I want as well. Which to choose?

    • Sarah @ Revive Our Hearts

      Choose Light and Life. “For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.” (Ps. 36:9)

    • Kate

      Branwen, choose light! Ask God to restore your soul and innocence! Let me ask you something, are you happy living in darkness? Darkness is worldly and people don’t find true happiness in darkness.

      • Iluntasuna Eder

        Got a new acct. yes. part of me is very happy in darkness.

  • Madeline

    I was wondering if anyone would be able to answer my question on this. Is there a difference between being innocent and being naive and if so what is it?

    • Bookworm1

      Hey I thought I’d check out the dictionary cos I wasn’t completely sure about this either! This is what it says about Innocent: ‘Free from guilt, sin or immorality. Harmless in intent. Pure, untainted. Having no knowledge of something.’ And this is Naïve: ‘Lacking worldly experience, wisdom or judgement. Produced in a simple child-like style, deliberately rejecting sophisticated techniques.’ From what I’ve just learnt it seems that naïve is more like being blind to things, perhaps not picking up or realising something, maybe ignoring the truth in some ways. Innocence seems more like someone who has pure intent and genuinely doesn’t know something, not because they’re being dumb or not seeing clearly, but because it’s something that hasn’t been introduced to them. Naïve is putting your hand in the fire and getting burnt, but being surprised cos because you didn’t think that fire would be hot even though it cooks your dinner. Innocence is burning your hand in that same fire, surprised cos you haven’t been told that it’s wrong, and that fire is something to be cautious around. You aren’t being blind, you just didn’t know.

  • Dixie Macanip

    i am so amused to stumble upon this post just when i am struggling with this very situation! wow. this is truly an answered prayer. thanks for sharing! i am 21 yrs old and working with people older than me. even in my own group of friends i am always the innocent one! but i get that they respect that and accept me for that but now working with adults who are more “experienced about the real world”, i find myself constantly making fun of. they mock me and uses the word “virgin” as a sort of insult. it is true that i am a virgin and nothing wrong with keeping my purity, but they are mocking me in a way that it starts to annoy me. i know that i should not give in to this pressure and be vigilant about protecting my purity. but i needed someone to hear these words from. and i am concerned about the other young Christian girls out there who might not know what to do when others make fum of them for beinh too “innocent”. what a great post! truly cleared my mind!!!

  • Bookworm1

    I’m so glad you wrote this post and I read it!! 🙂 I’ve been called ‘innocent’ before, not sure if they said it in amusement, mocking me or in pleasure! But, anyway, it’s easy to feel left out… but now I can see why it’s GOOD to be left out! I am glad that I am ‘innocent’ in that sense. But I also feel that in some ways I can’t help but be a little worldly wise from the things around me. But I want to stay pure and innocent for as long as I possibly can in the belief that it is better for my heart!

  • Kate

    Hi! I am 17 years old, I’ll be 18 in a few months. I’ve kissed one boy and that was my first kiss. I have prayed to God, telling Him that I am sorry for what I did. I have asked Him to forgive me several times. I was afraid that my innocence may be gone. But all my innocence isn’t gone. Thank you, Father for having this wonderful young woman write this! God bless you!