Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I have come to realize that discernment is a gift like no other. It is a blessing and a “curse” at the same time. A blessing because it provides a person with insight that allows them to take precautions so as to not be led astray by wolves and/or blind leaders. On the other hand it is “curse” because it is often met at the door by the pride of other believers. Case in point, if a discerning Christian tells another believer that it is troubling to see men like Charles Stanley and John MacArthur share a platform at Proclaim 19 with people like Rick Warren, then he/she is quite often labeled undiscerning or divisive. After all, most believers do not want to think that their spiritual heroes could be wolves in sheep’s clothing and that their own levels of discernment may be lacking.
Now, contrast that with a gift like a great voice or the ability to speak publicly. Such gifts are easily spotted by others and are quickly put to good use within the church. Few people would deny that someone like Josh Groban has a great voice and fewer still would ever suggest that they can sing as well as him. Why? Because most people cannot sing as well as him and they know it! Likewise, few people would deny that Charles Spurgeon was a great orator and fewer still would ever suggest that they can orate as well as he did. Why? Because most people cannot orate as well as him and they know it!
Discernment is the only gift that I can think of that has the roadblock of pride (of others) standing in its way. All other gifts are deemed valuable to the body of Christ. Only the gift of discernment is repeatedly kicked to the proverbial curb simply because everyone and their dog likes to believe that they possess it themselves. And so, when the person who actually has it shares his/her insight with others, out come the fists: “Are you suggesting that I lack discernment because I see absolutely nothing wrong with Charles Stanley sharing the platform with Priscilla Shirer? Are you serious dude? Do you know how many people that they have led to the Lord?”
All that to say, I believe that one of the only gifts that is not fully utilized in the church is discernment, which makes it a “curse” for those of us who have it. After all, out of love we try to shout from the rooftops to those down below so as to warn them about the field of landmines that they are about to walk into. And yet, no one seems to listen on account of their pride and/or blindness. The end result (at least for me) is that our hearts are in continually mourning for our brethren.
Yes, discernment is a blessing because it helps to prevent us from stepping into a trap ourselves, but it is also a “curse” because the body of Christ fails to acknowledge that not everyone has it. Thus, it is usually rendered virtually useless inside the church. I say “virtually” only because there are still some members of the church body who are willing to swallow their pride and test/heed the huge list of warnings of loving Christians like you, Warren Smith, Chris Lawson, Roger Oakland, Ray Yungen, etc. Personally, I am convinced that those who refuse to do so are setting themselves up for a tremendous fall in the days to come due to their own pride.
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. (2 Thessalonians 2:3)
May God bless and protect all of you and your families, as well as your ministries. Keep up the good fight!
(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)