by: FCC Staff
Discernment is a discipline that sometimes gets overlooks or pushed aside in an attempt to be “non-judgmental” But it isn’t the case that discernment and judgment are two words to describe the same thing with nuance. Imagine you are blindfolded, and two bowls are placed before you. You are given a spoon and told to taste what is in each bowl.
“Pudding!” You say after a bite from the first bowl.
“Ice Cream!” After a bite from the second.
That would be discernment. You can experience two things, and tell the difference. Now if you were given the same exercise and after the first bite you respond “Ew. Gross. Pudding!” That’s a judgmental statement. Pudding is pudding, and you are entitled to your opinion of it, but that’s irrelevant to the task of just knowing what you are eating. And lots of people like pudding. Your judgment doesn’t make that any less true for them. Then you are old to take a bite from the second bowl. “What?!? No! It’s probably more pudding! I hate pudding! No way.” That’s not even judgment, it’s prejudice, assuming something that was true once, and you didn’t like it, is going to be true all the time. You don’t even know the second bowl is ice cream, which you love.
So our proverb today tells us first, “Fine speech is not becoming to a fool.” Just because something sounds articulate, doesn’t mean it’s wise. Just because something sounds good, even biblical, doesn’t mean it is in fact, reflecting the wisdom of God.
The second part of our proverb then tells us, “still less is false speech to a prince” Just because someone is a ruler doesn’t make everything they say, true. Truth is truth, whether it is stated by a second grader or a senator.
It’s not good when fools wrap up their warped point of view in grand sounding speech. Nor is it good when a ruler tells lies. But it happens, and it takes wisdom and discernment to know the difference. It’s foolish to believe that just because something is put simply it isn’t as wise as something more verbose. It is foolish to believe that just because someone is in authority they are telling the truth.
The enemy had a very smooth speech prepared for Adam and Eve, and they bought it. We too fall for the devil’s schemes when we fail to recognize that a good sound byte or turn of phrase may not in fact reflect God’s truth. And Satan, the “ruler of the air” is full of false speech. He even knows his bible. Yet we know that Jesus was able to be wise, discerning, and know that even if lies come in a convincing argument, even wrapped in quotes from scripture, God’s truth remains.
So today let’s not be tempted into unjust judgment or prejudice, when we should in fact be using God’s wisdom to help us be discerning. Not using God’s word to justify what we want, but letting God’s wisdom tell us what we should seek after.
Prayer for Today
Father, thank you for the wisdom of your word. Jesus, teach me to be discerning in what I accept as truth, and always let the words of scripture be my guide. Send your Holy Spirit to guide me so I can be led by you, not by my own understanding, biases, or instincts. Lord, grant me your peace and your wisdom today. Amen.