Knowing the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, and the road to take and the road to avoid is increasingly difficult. The world is increasingly complex; shades of gray abound at every corner. The black and white of my youth is no longer obvious. It would be easy to say that standards erode overtime; however every generation has succumbed to this excuse. There are elements of truth in the statement that the world is more evil however the simple conclusion may not be relevant. The world was and is self-centered. Self centeredness defines evil so the matter of degree is merely a correlation to our ability to be aware. People are on one side or the other; that is, they are evil or they fight evil.
In this confusion, discernment is an extraordinary gift that few possess and even fewer recognize and act on. Given the evidence around me it seems as if we are beginning to accept this as a norm – applying to everyone in time. It doesn’t have to be that way! People can recognize and act on their gifts. People can develop the skill of discernment. This particular skill grows or shrinks as we use it so there is always hope.
The irony is that we have extended our doubt on whether or not discernment exists to every quarter. Institutions that were held in high regard now have to prove themselves. Nobody is given an automatic exemption! Without thinking we have applied this paradigm to God! Where do you stand? Are God’s actions consistent with Divine rhetoric? The answer comes out in the assessment of those who claim to be followers.
“I hear the lie in the claims of those who pretend to be good Jews, who in fact belong to Satan’s crowd.” (Revelation 2.8)
God knows where we stand. Divinity and the Spirit know the truth with a level of clarity that defies our understanding. Knowing this God still calls us friend. Seeing through the haze, God still offers unconditional relationship. The next step comes as we exercise our discernment.