Tag Archive for human behavior

DN=: Part 5–Discrimination

 

 

Discernment is the divine enablement to distinguish between truth and error, good and evil, right and wrong.  A person with this gift can differentiate pure from impure motives, identify deception in others, determine authenticity of messages from God, recognize false teaching and sense the presence of evil.  (Paraphrased from “Network” by Bruce Bugbee and Don Cousins.)

 

In other words, discernment is God’s B.S. detector.

 

Have you ever known someone who saw something fake or sinister in a person’s character before anyone else did, and was later proven right?  Have you ever had a friend who told you what you were thinking when you couldn’t even explain it yourself?  This is discernment at work.

(Remember back at the beginning of this series when I talked about people talking in code?  I didn’t forget about that.  From here on out, we’re going to defuse political correctness one code-bomb at a time.)

 

Another word with a meaning similar to discernment, in the literal sense of having the ability to distinguish differences, is discrimination.

 

While discernment is a spiritual gift, given by God to whomever He chooses, discrimination is a natural skill that can be learned and developed by anybody through careful observation and judicious contemplation.

 

It would seem, then, that discrimination should actually be a positive thing, since being UN-able to recognize differences would be a sign of a lack of intelligence or observance.

 

Nevertheless, this word has gradually become associated with “bigotry,” even though those two words really aren’t connected.

 

 DISCRIMINATION DN= BIGOTRY

 

There’s a big difference between distinguishing the differences in people and treating people differently.  Paul wrote:

 

In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:28 The Message)

 

And also:


[In this new creation all distinctions vanish.] There is no room for and there can be neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, [nor difference between nations whether alien] barbarians or Scythians [who are the most savage of all], nor slave or free man; but Christ is all and in all, everything and everywhere, to all men, without distinction of person]. (Colossians 3:11 Amplified)

 

In making these statements, Paul is instructing these early churches that although the Church is made up of all kinds of different people from different backgrounds, it is much more significant that Christ is our common ground.  Being the original Truthseeker, Paul discriminates by noting the differences, but does not show favoritism, because Christ does not show favoritism.

 

Looking at it this way, we can clearly see that bigotry is defined by emphasizing differences with the motive of boosting one’s own status over that of another based solely upon those differences.  Bigotry may START with discrimination, but it ends somewhere else entirely.

 

So how do you know when you’ve crossed the line?  In a word—labels.

 

Whenever you refer to another person with a label instead of their name, that’s a pretty clear sign that you are crossing over to the dark side of discrimination, because you are now seeing that person not as an individual, but as part of a subset of humanity, most likely one to which you do not belong yourself.

 

Once you have identified the difference and affixed a label to it, the emphasis of that difference comes naturally.  From there, it’s a very short walk to bigotry, simply because our human nature is to justify ourselves, and the easiest way to do that is to lower our view of others.  Labels just streamline that process.

 

So how does discernment fit into this?

 

From the definitions we have already discussed, discernment is essentially God-level discrimination.  But since we have already seen that God sees all of His followers as equal in Christ, then it should be obvious that the purpose of discernment is not to enable bigotry by labeling humans and dividing them into groups.

 

Discernment is not about judging character or outward appearances, but rather motives and the behavior that arises from them.  Which leads me to my next DN=.

 

(After vacation, I will return with Part 6–Judgment)

 

Empty Glass: Part 3–Arrogance

 

Remember that common sense is just collective wisdom.  Collective wisdom, in turn, is a bunch of people that have had the same wisdom poured from the same pitcher INDIVIDUALLY into their empty glasses. 

 

Only some people don’t receive the wisdom.  This is because their glass has a lid on it.  The lid is called. . .

 

Arrogance

 

Arrogance usually comes about in this way.  A person with an empty glass gets their first sample pour from a good pitcher.  They taste and see that it is good.  Then the person with the pitcher offers to fill their glass.  Instead of accepting, however, the arrogant person says, “No, I’m good,” and slaps a lid on their half-full glass. 

 

They could have acquired more knowledge, but they shut themselves off.  Instead, they zealously protect the incomplete knowledge they do have as if to say, “My water is better than YOUR water.” 

 

If you did this with an actual glass of water, two things would eventually happen.  First, over time, the water in your glass would get stale.  Second, with the lid on your glass, you can’t even drink the stale water that you have.  So you get thirsty again.  Even worse, you can’t get any fresh water with the lid on your glass either.

 

In the same way, clinging desperately to incomplete knowledge makes your mind go stagnant. 

 

Face it—the world is going to progress whether you do or not.  For this reason, if your knowledge is at a standstill, it is actually going backward.  If there ever was a time when the arrogant person DID have superior knowledge, it didn’t stay that way for long.

 

Worse, the arrogant person is incapable of obtaining any new knowledge to supplant the old as long as he has the lid clamped down on the glass of his mind.  So the arrogant person becomes as thirsty as he was when he was ignorant. 

 

The key difference, however, is that the ignorant person knows that he is thirsty.  He will seek out a new pitcher, and is prepared to RECEIVE.  The arrogant person, on the other hand, refuses to admit his thirst and remove the lid, which is keeping his old knowledge contained. He is therefore unable to receive.

 

As such, the state of the arrogant man becomes worse than the state of the ignorant man.

 

(It gets worse.  Come back for Part 4–Stupid.)

 

Deliverance

 

 

No, not THAT kind of Deliverance!
 

 

 

(Yeah, that’s more like it.)

 

Have you ever found yourself in a situation that seemed hopeless?  Did you pray to God for deliverance?  I have found myself in that place on numerous occasions.

 

God always answers prayers for deliverance, but sometimes it’s not the answer we were expecting.  We have a tendency to treat God like an ATM—swipe our prayer card, and out come the blessings.

 

But sometimes the answer is “no.”  And sometimes it’s “not yet.”  And sometimes, it’s “Yes, but not the way you’re thinking.”

 

God wants us to live life to the full; however, He is always more interested in our holiness than our happiness.  We would love for our deliverance from trials and tribulations to be as quick and painless as possible.

 

But more often than not, God’s plan is to deliver us through the trial, rather than from it.  And painless isn’t always part of the plan.  In fact, sometimes the pain is the plan.

 

The trials we undergo may seem like the end of the world while they’re happening, and yet, we always come out the other side, maybe not totally unscathed, but still standing nonetheless.  We may have some scar tissue, but we also frequently have a sense of liberation.  We got THROUGH this!  And it didn’t kill us!

 

Here’s the thing about deliverance though.  The process of being delivered through a trial is supposed to be a lesson about reliance on God’s strength when our own is failing.

 

After all, why did we cry out to Him in the first place?  Because we knew that we were at the end of ourselves and it was only His strength that could deliver us.

 

So naturally, what do we do first when the next trial comes along?  That’s right, we try to fix our own problems and rely on our own strength.  Again.  Although we know we should never take God’s deliverance for granted, we do it anyway, because it is in our nature to forget things like that.

 

Fortunately God, who knows us better than we know ourselves, anticipates this, and is always there to pick up the pieces AGAIN (and again, and again).  What a great thing it is to know that we can always fall back on His patience and mercy!

 

Still, I think we ought to make more of an intentional effort to remember why God delivers us in the first place—because He is with us, and He is for us.  If He was in our corner the last time we had a problem, and we know that He doesn’t change, then it makes sense that He will go to bat for us again the next time we have a problem. 

  

So instead of having a high-speed come-apart the next time life beats us down or backs us up against the wall, we should approach our trial with confidence, knowing that we will be delivered, and that we won’t have to rely on our own strength to get it done.