Awhile back, I attended a meeting of small business owners with my husband Phil. There were four businesses represented; a frozen custard shop, a health food store, an accounting firm, and our ministry! In order for the trainer to make a point about the perils and power of influence, she wrote several words on a white board. The words were a list of colors: red, black, blue, green ... you get the idea. But, the tricky part was that she wrote all those words over and over in random order and each word which named a color was written with a marking pen of a different color! So, the word "pink" was written with blue ink; the word "yellow" was written in read ink! Stressed out yet? I know!
The trainer then asked the group to read — really fast and in unison — all the words on the white board. You can imagine the comical gibberish that followed! As everyone tried to read, the mismatched colors of the ink really influenced the group’s ability – and inability — to read the word itself correctly.It was one of those times I didn’t mind being blind and just sitting back quietly with a smirk on my face as all those sighted folks made one gaff after another! It was really funny!
The point the trainer was making is that we are more easily influenced than we even realize. And, that’s why we need discernment.
Discernment ... our English word, "discern," comes from the Greek word "anakrino" which means "to distinguish, to separate out by diligent search, or to examine."
Discernment is like a spiritual filter that separates dark, dirty lies from sweet, liberating truth. Discernment serves as a sieve to divide the destructive from the constructive; that which builds up from that which tears down.
Discernment even allows us to know the difference between what is good and what is best.