CITIZEN COLUMNIST: The value of discernment and spiritual discernment – SCNow

Some of us have been blessed to live long enough to have seen and experienced quite a few things. Because of the experiences that involved the use of our eyes, ears and other senses, some of us have acquired the spirit of discernment.

We have learned the difference between fact and opinion, moral from the immoral and godly from the ungodly. We have to discriminate in a Godly manner and recognize such things as being attentive and ignored. Discernment enables us to sift for truth and genuine interactions.

Websters Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary outlines six synonyms that hopefully assist us in digesting the traits of discernment, a power to see what is not evident to the average mind.

Discernment stresses accuracy (as in reading character or motives or appreciating art).

Discrimination stresses the power to distinguish and select what is true or appropriate or excellent.

Perception implies quick and often sympathetic discernment (as of shades of feelings).

Penetration implies a searching mind that goes beyond what is obvious and superficial.

Insight suggests depth of discernment coupled with understanding sympathy.

Acumen implies characteristic penetration combined with keen practical judgment.

Unlike Websters and Biblical definitions of discernment and spiritual discernment respectively, common sense is defined by Webster as sound and prudent but often unsophisticated judgment. One would think that some parents and other family members would properly dress themselves and their children in the appropriate clothing for weather in the teens, 20s, 30s and 40s. One would think that children and adults would not walk in the middle of the street when they see vehicles approaching them.

One would think that all parents and extended family members would teach their children the necessity for having good manners, respect for rules, regulations, procedures, people and property as a basic requirement for success in life that relates to education, employment opportunities and just being a good person.

Some of us have lived long enough to recognize the differences between being invited, uninvited, disinvited and ignored. Children and adults who might not be able to read can read insincerity. They know the difference between someone who cares and respects them from persons who are shucking and jiving.

Proverbs 16: 2,3 states that All a mans (including women) ways seem right in his (her) own eyes, but the Lord weighs the motives. Commit your activities to the Lord and your plan will be achieved. Consequently there is discernment of gifts, spirits, intents, and the course of the times we live in.

Proverbs 3: 5, 6 tells us to Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your ways, and He will guide on the right paths. Thus, the implementation of spiritual discernment is an imperative for all of us at home, in the faith houses, and in all of our work places, irrespective of our position or title. To do otherwise would be rationally inexplicable and morally unjustifiable.

At the heart of spiritual discernment is being able to distinguish the voice of the world from the voice of God. Spiritual discernment, also known as wisdom, comes from knowing God and is a gift from God, more than anything else. I read somewhere that spiritual discernment (1) acts as a means of protection, guarding us from being deceived spiritually, (2) acts as an instrument of healing, when exercised in grace, (3) functions as a key to Godly freedom and (4) serves as a catalyst to spiritual development.

Perhaps one of the most important character traits of one who has discernment, particularly spiritual discernment, is a constant and consistent display of sensitivity. Whether in agreement or disagreement, irrespective of ones socio-economic status, job title, faith, gender or any other factor, everybody is important and is to be respected.

Allie E. Brooks Jr. is a former superintendent of Florence School District One and past principal of Wilson High School.

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CITIZEN COLUMNIST: The value of discernment and spiritual discernment - SCNow

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