In a world of many choices; one of the ways to help us actualize the best in our various decisions is having the ability to discern into the bottom-line of issues. Some offers may look very pleasing and satisfying but within them may be a hidden potency that leads an individual into great jeopardy. No wonder, it is often said that all that glitters is not gold. It is easier to be carried away by the physical/ present offer and be blinded by its aftermath effects.
Discernment is defined by the Webster dictionary as the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure; skill in discerning. It’s true that the ability to discern is a special gift given to others.[i] Which means some may have it in an unusual measure. But it is also true that discernment is a skill that everyone has and can be developed by all. Naturally, we all are able to tell the good from the bad in some situations. Well, that’s a function of discernment.
The essence of discernment is to help us rightly judge and decide on issues. Having this knowledge, the Psalmist prayed that God teaches him good judgment and knowledge.[ii] Whether you’re a leader or a follower, at every point in time, we all need this skill and ability to make critical decisions. To help throw light on today’s topic, let’s consider this story. In 2 Samuel 10, a host of Amorites and Syrians lost their lives and all that they have because their new king, Hanun, couldn’t discern the good intention of King David. Hanun was ill-advised by his inner-circle and it greatly affected others. That’s for leaders.
Let’s consider another story which spells out the need for this special skill. In 2 Samuel chapter 11, King David slept with Uriah’s wife and later strategically placed Uriah at the front lines of the battle, which made him lose his life. I guess, one may argue that but brother Moses, where is the role of discernment in this story? Wait, let’s take a look at what happened right before the war. The Bible reveals that Uriah was the same messenger who sent the letter that contained the information about the plan to take his life. However, the absence of discernment, deprive him of knowing such information. “The next morning, David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by Uriah. He wrote, ‘Put Uriah in the front line, where the fighting is heaviest, then retreat and let him be killed.’” [iii]
Just thinking, I guess the ghost of Uriah will be very furious of not knowing such plot ahead of time. Or, he may even wonder why nothing pricked him to read the letter earlier. The absence of discernment can really cause a lot of havoc. It is often one of the proponents of the phrase, “Had I known”. It takes discernment to demonstrate wisdom and insight that goes beyond the physical senses. Charles Spurgeon once said that, “Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.” [iv]Discernment helps in averting all forms of harm. It makes us intuitive and a little curious to know further. Discernment has a special way of making you uncomfortable about a situation. It calls for the need of patience and sharpens our ability in becoming more observant on issues. It feeds us with the needed information and the ability to rightly decipher the right intent of issues.
In our quest, to develop such a special skill, let’s bear in mind that it may take some time. Some tip-bits to developing such skill are that we shouldn’t take major decisions in haste. When you seem not convinced about something, give yourself some time to ponder about it. Careful meditation also enhances our ability to prudently decide on issues. Sometimes you can leave the decision to your unconscious mind and continue with other activities. With time, the right answer will surely pop-up within you. In the midst of all these, the most effective way to develop this skill is to depend on the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit teaches us all things. (John 14:26). You need to get better with this special ability of discernment, so do I. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit. We can’t get access to the Holy Spirit without Jesus Christ. The choice is yours.
God loves you and always want the best for you
[i] 1 Corinthians 12:10
[ii] Psalm 119:66
[iii] 2 Samuel 11:14 – 15, GNB