And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more,
with knowledge and all discernment -Philippians 1:9
One example of lack of discernment comes out of Mississippi over a decade ago when madness over a natural soap took hold of my circle of friends. They said that because the maker of this soap prayed over the soap that it had mystic powers to cure cancer among other amazing miracles. Of course, none of this was verifiable. It was absurd. I had a young and well-meaning friend ask me, "Lauren, if they want to believe that it cures them, why not just let them believe it?" On the one hand, why was I so concerned over what blissful sheep believe? I didn't lose or gain anything by their belief in superstitions. On the other, these were my friends being duped. So what did it matter? By trusting in some watery goop to heal you instead of science, you're putting yourself in danger. You're putting your children in danger. And besides all the science, your giving glory to a substance instead of to God. It's idolatry. Like the science. Love God. Don't trust scammers. I mean, seriously. The maker was in jail for scams and these poor people were still falling for his scams. I don't understand the willfully blind.
Another example of lack of discernment comes out of Texas last year when madness over the presidential election reached a peak. I had written that I couldn't wait for Pastors to stop being so hysterical over it and a friend wrote, "We are grateful for a pastoral staff who is not afraid to stand up for biblically based truths and beliefs. I am particularly grateful that we are not a "seeker" church and do not have "feel good" sermons every Sunday." She failed to see how her pastor was tickling the ears of his congregants. It broke my heart to see my friend blinded by a man she trusted. The lack of discernment of the pastor, my friend, and the rest of the congregation is typical in the Bible Belt and especially Texas. Here, they confuse patriotism and Christianity. They think "Republican" is synonymous with Biblical. Her pastor actually said that the Republican platform was the Christian one. It breaks my heart to see such ignorance and stupidity being preached and my blind friends following it unquestioningly. Of course, anyone familiar with the Bible knows that to not be true. The platform of Christ rests on two sentences:
Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” -Mark 12:29-31Neither of which are found in the Republican platform of over 40 pages. But that church has stopped preaching from the Bible and has decided to take refuge in political speeches. That church lacks discernment and has failed to teach discernment. Instead now the pastor tickles the ears of his very Republican congregation and shares what they like to hear. He even came back his next sermon saying, "most people liked what I said." As if that is any indicator of what God would want him to preach. So sad.
Quite contrary to Scripture, this pastor said he was afraid "for the babies". I can respect that sentiment except that the Bible clearly says that fear has no place in love and that anything done out of fear is sin. This pastor's personal assistant said blatantly "I am very afraid of the evil that will be unleashed if Hillary Clinton wins. " What place does fear have in the hearts of the Believers? This lack of faith and trust in God was preached and learned. If this PA had discernment she'd see her own hypocrisy once it was pointed out to her. And I'd like to do my "I told ya so" dance (probably not out of humility...I'd really enjoy to be proven wrong in the coming months) as I point out how abortion is still legal despite all the lying politicians clamoring for the hearts of the blind republicans hod the majority in the House, Senate, and the Presidency. I've said it so many times but it needs repeating- I don't care who the president is. I am very concerned for the hearts of my friends trusting in lying men and fearing hypothetical doomsday scenarios instead of trusting God. This breaks my heart.
My final example for now probably snags the majority of women I know. It's a combination of trendiness, Prosperity Gospel feel-goodery, empty positivity, and plain ol' ear tickling. I qualify the type of positivity to be clear that there are good forms of positivity and then there's the empty variety. Being positive for positivity sake is useless and leads to danger. Sometimes you don't "just keep swimming". If you can base your positivity on Christ, then your positivity is well-founded.
In particular, there was a post shared that read, "God knew what kind of mother our children would need long before they were even born." I don't want to embarrass anyone with this specific example of lack of discernment so I won't name names. Google it if you absolutely MUST know where this comes from. It does not come from the Bible. My friend shared this. But this implication that because God knew what would happen, then you're ok, is precisely the ego-stroke that narcissistic mothers love to hear so they don't have to change and be the women God wants them to be. Rather we should instead go with Biblical encouragement and Biblical positivity which reads like "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 This is comforting because it tells mothers not to "rest in who they are even if they're garbage mothers" but to try to do what God wants them to do according to Scripture (none of this "I can audibly hear the voice of God telling me to kill everyone" madness. I mean actual Scripture.) and even when we fail as mothers, which will happen, instead point our kids to Christ so that they can lean on Him and not us. Perhaps that was the original intent, unfortunately that was not what was written. I get being a poor writer. I'm a poor writer. But this is not my job. For a writer to be a bad writer and a self-proclaimed teacher to be a bad teacher, is grave "for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness." (James 3:1)
It takes discernment to detect the difference between these two sentiments. It takes Scripture reading, Scripture studying, and Scripture meditating to see the lies in feel-goodery, empty positivity, prosperity gospel ear tickles. I get it - I'm a "Debby Downer" for not just letting people blissfully walk off cliffs. Maybe I'd have more friends if I didn't speak about foolishness. I like it when people point out where I'm wrong. I've had to learn humility to accept correction. I get corrected all the time. It's ok to be wrong, just change your stance to be in-line with Scripture. It's that easy. This post will only upset you if you are too prideful. Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18) My husband and I were recently discussing how some people insist they are right even when proven wrong and instead of easily saying, "oops", they carry on and on about how they were actually right or how everyone else is wrong. It only makes her look more stupid. I've looked stupid on many occasions. In humility, I admit many mistakes. The easiest way to be mistake-free is to base all your decisions on Scripture. It might seem hypocritical of me. I don't trust anyone who denies their own hypocrisy. That person is a victim of their own lies and does not know Truth.
If you want to ask my opinion on pieces requiring discernment, then I'd point out that, still, you lack the very simple discernment that I am not an authority on discernment. Tricky, huh? I can point you to Scripture, hopefully, but anyone who points to themselves or anything other than Scripture is a deceiver. I'm trying to not be hypocritical. I'm trying to be humble. I am genuinely apologetic if my tone does not com across at humble. Discernment is a strength of mine and I do not mean to only compare my strengths to others' weaknesses. I hope that instead of accusing me of pride here that you will give me grace and instead accuse me of not writing eloquently. I try but I understand that I fail. Not everyone hears things, read things, the same way; or the way they're intended.
Any positivity post that is unbiblical is from the Father of Lies at worst and a blind teacher at best. Any preacher preaching any gospel other than that found in Scripture, let me echo Galatians 1 and say, "let him be accursed". Any product taking the place of prayer in your life, is an idol.