Courage and Discernment: Two of the Most Important Qualities One Can Possess

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I believe the church is suffering from a very serious problem. We have courageous people who lack discernment and we have discerning people who lack courage. What we need are people who have BOTH courage and discernment. Being courageous without having discernment results in bullying people and picking the wrong battles to fight. Having discernment without having courage results in someone seeing things with great clarity but not having the wherewithal to tackle it.

We need to encourage these attributes in our young people. We don’t need to train them to be docile people who just toe the line without question. Instead, we need to train our people to have a critical eye, to read and understand the scriptures (discernment) and to have the guts to take those truths wherever they lead, as far as they lead without being afraid of what other people think about it. Too often discernment is often discouraged because it can lead one to challenge the ways we have always seen and done things, especially traditions. Likewise, too often courage is discouraged because we like unity at the expense of most everything…courageous people tend to push buttons, often buttons we would rather not have pushed.

So be people of courage AND people of discernment. Know that there are still battles worth fighting but have the discernment to know which ones those are. And as always, be in prayer that God would help you grow in both of these attributes.

9 Responses

  1. Great thoughts! The tricky thing seems to be: how do we determine who the discerning ones are? As recent events have shown, there are times when there are lots of people standing on opposing sides of an issue. Both sides have people that are totally convinced that they are right. Both sides are using Scripture to back up their view. Both sides have people that feel that they must make a stand for what they’ve discerned is God’s position on the matter. And we end up in deadlock.

  2. well, since I am sound in the faith, of course my point of view is correct – obviously šŸ™‚
    Using Scripture to back up points of view is one thing. Using the tight tools to interpret the Scripture is where we get in trouble.
    So, when parts of Scripture are relegated to “cultural habits,” as done by Patrick Mead and others (Among whom we find the Dean of the School of Biblical Studies from ACU), with weak statements, “Well, we could… Perhaps… It might be possible…” we definitely have issues.

  3. This courage can be a great thing. It has gotten plenty excommunicated in the past and will likely get you condemned to hell from a cofC pulpit. However, it is sorely needed to break the stranglehold that some held on everyone else for far too long.

  4. “courageous people tend to push buttons” – that kind of does it for me. The trouble is that that’s all a lot of us tied into blog-discussions actually do. We don’t confront the issues that matter to us locally – the one’s that really matter in our lifes – but use blogs to grumble-grouse and expound and get ourselves a ‘feel-good’ factor that we’ve strived and made a difference, when we’ve no proof that we’ve accomplished anything (unless you want to count the innumerable logs of blogs). Time was when you counted the courageous man by the number of ‘scars on the front of his body’, or so I’m tiold. In these days of no-trouble compliance, confrontation (even discerning up-standing confrontation) is to be avoided at all costs unless it’s on real-time TV, or played out in a soap or movie. It looks like we may have allowed technology to sublimate any useful contribution that we might make to the moral calibre of the world around us.

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