Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Misuse of the Gift of Discernment

I found this post on Monday by James MacDonald at Straight Up on the subject of Great Damage: The Gift of Discernment Used in the Flesh. I thought it was so good, I'm going to post excerpts throughout this week. He is discussing "five ways to know if you or someone you know is using the gift of discernment in their own strength and not the Lord’s," with particular reference to "watch dog sites" in the blogosphere who seem to feel the necessity to correct everybody else. Here's number one.

Isolation: The gift of discernment, like all spiritual gifting, needs the balancing confinement of the local church. Sadly these watch dog sites are typically led by people who have gifts of discernment, often frequented by others with gifts of discernment. As they begin to write and comment they get themselves pretty spun up. Not because they don’t have legitimate warnings to give, but because they are operating in isolation. Without gifts of teaching and pastoring and mercy (to name a few), discernment gifts can quickly spiral into a tornado of twisted meaning. The idea that a man who has preached and written and funded and marched for and recruited volunteers for pro life causes for 25 years is soft on abortion because he exhorts people to find a basis for thankfulness in a very disturbing election outcome, is insane and could only be allowed to stand when gifts of discernment are boiling in the flesh and in isolation. Sadly these folks are often so harsh and so foolishly confident in their own distortions that mature Christians leave them isolated rather than face their fleshly wrath.