I would like to talk about discernment versus discrimination. In many ways, these two words are the same. They both refer to the ability to recognize differences. Discrimination has most recently been used to refer to how we respond to those differences. This word is specifically used when we talk about how we treat, or respond, to people who are different than ourselves. In the United States, there has been an ongoing struggle to eliminate discrimination. We have worked towards some level of egalitarianism since our inception. This means, we believe all people are created equal by our Creator and deserve equal rights and opportunities. In recent history, this struggle has been most visible in the struggle for civil rights by the African American community, and by women. Interestingly, many people see religion as a basis for most prejudices, and oftentimes the social progressives have seen religion as a hindrance to this struggle. This is certainly an uninformed idea because religion has always been very important to our greater society, and Christians have initiated many of the struggles for freedom.
This is most obviously true in the Civil Rights Movement, as exemplified in the leadership of Reverend Martin Luther King and the many church leaders connected with him. Now, the major issues facing us are in the areas of gender identification and gay rights. Many Social Progressives compare these sexual issues to the Civil Rights Movement. Is this a valid comparison? We need to compare discrimination and discernment to see the difference between these things, so we can have dialogue on these contentious issues. To discern means to see and recognize, but the word discernment speaks of taking another step to judgment. In other words, I recognize difference so I can make a proper judgment on how to respond. Whereas we associate discrimination with improper response, we need to see discernment as the ability to judge with the proper response.
How Does Discernment Work?
Gender and racial differences are based upon who we are. However, the new gender and sexual preference debate centers on how people see themselves. This brings the debate and struggle into a whole different realm, and makes comparison to earlier struggles a huge misconception. Is there wisdom in making personal perception of oneself the basis for how we treat one another? Having studied social sciences, and working with people for 40 years, I can say by experience this is dangerous territory. Wisdom is the ability to make choices based on knowledge and experience. The fruit of a behavior in the past will most likely indicate the fruit of a behavior in the future. As Christians, we should not be judgmental, but we should be judging. In other words, we are called to be fruit inspectors!
One obvious observation is that most people choose to see themselves based on desire, rather than true observation. This is easily seen in gender confusion. A person is born a male, but sees themselves as a female. Their desire is inconsistent with true observation. If this person is wealthy, they can rearrange certain parts of their anatomy, but will be in a constant battle to try to change natural hormonal production. One of life’s major struggles is finding out who we are, where we belong, and what our purpose is. As Christians, we are not trying to be killjoys, but using the knowledge and wisdom of God’s Word to help us in our struggle. We believe the Word of God is a key to understanding ourselves because we believe He is our Creator.
The major scientific view held by many who do not believe in God, or only casually believe, is natural selection. Using natural selection as the basis of the debate would, in fact, be no different than the Christian one, right? In natural selection, anomalies can be proven superior if they can be proven through survival and reproduction. This shows that psychological ideas and social debates based on them creates a new science based on human desire. However, when personal desire triumphs over community, the end result will always be destruction. This is why the Bible declares, “There is a way that seems right to man but the end thereof is the way of death.”
What evidence is there to prove self-centered motivation leads to good? I have only seen self-centered motivation destroy families, relationships, communities—and in history, whole societies. It is time for the church to discern the times, and see how important it is for us to believe and demonstrate the reality of the Word to our generation! We must do so with the understanding truth that we always prevail. Truth needs a demonstration through the church, so the world can see the wisdom of God in action. Then, Isaiah’s declaration concerning the end of time will come to pass:
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the Lord’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2-3)
I am asking you to join me as a messenger of truth, and not someone given to the temptation of pacifying another self-centered motivation. Let truth prevail in your heart, and come forth from your mouths, that we would see His kingdom be established!