When Discernment Lacks Grace
“Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.” Acts 18:24-28
Discernment can become a battlefield—a time of throwing grenades at others of insults, snide remarks, sarcastic comments, and the like. We yell, “False teacher!” after cherry picking a random quote. We spread heresy nets waiting for someone to fall in. Yet we talk about being gracious, gospel-centered, grace-filled people in every other aspect of our lives. Why do we forget to apply this to our discernment?
We are people who were shown abundant grace. We hated God. We clung to idols. We loved false teaching. We believed error. We spoke wrongly about God. Yet God showed us grace. He removed the veil from our eyes and melted our hearts. He showed us the true Gospel and led us to repentance. And He put faith in our hearts to believe it.
What if we remembered this when we approached our discernment? What if like Priscilla and Aquila, we came alongside our brothers and sisters (rather than stamping them as heretics) and sought to explain the truth from God’s Word? What if our goal was not to win the argument, not get a laugh from the onlookers with our sarcasm, but to see the Gospel furthered and our siblings in Christ by using their gifts to the full glory of God in accuracy? What if by our discernment, people could see the grace we were given?
God, I am sorry for the times I have lacked mercy in my discerning. I am sorry for the times I have assumed the worst of another. I am sorry for when I have spoken unkindly. Please help me to exemplify you when I am discerning.
If you have acted uncharitably towards a brother or sister in the faith in your discernment, seek them out and come to them in humble repentance.