The Cursed Gift of Discernment

gift-of-discernmentMany, many years ago, before I was married, I knew a man from my church (my college group) who loved the Word of God with such passion, and he defended it. There would be maybe a dozen of us college students at a Dennys restaurant in the middle of the night. If someone spoke something that was error Scripturally, he knew the truth, and he spoke the truth. His face would get really serious (he was normally a goofball, so the transformation was actually quite dramatic). And he nailed it. Everything he said was true; I looked it up. He used pure Scripture to speak, and he spoke so eloquently that I wanted to clap. I love the Truth. I love it with all my heart. So this man’s spiritual gift made him very attractive to me. I ended up marrying him because of it.

My husband’s spiritual gift cuts through the bull and gets to the heart of the matter. If you didn’t know him, you might think he was mad. But he is speaking the truth in love, I can promise you that. The reason I know this is because a highly respected woman from my church has the same spiritual gift, and it manifests itself in the same identical way. But because she’s in a position of leadership, her words are respected and taken to heart. Yes, a few women are ticked off and don’t like her, but the reason they don’t is that they don’t want to know the truth. The truth hurts, especially when it is a Scripture directed to a personal sin in your own life. Ouch, is what I say. Please tell me more. I don’t want sin in my life. I don’t need it to be candy coated, and this person can’t candy-coat it without compromising the truth. So they don’t. It is not sin for her to get super serious, speak in an almost agitated tone of voice, and almost sound like she’s yelling at me. Her rebukes are harsh, even from my point of view. But I am absolutely certain that she loves me. She knows that my heart wants the truth more than anything. Where else can I go? I NEED people like this in my life. She can see straight through to my soul and see things that I don’t know are there. And she is right. I repent and I am healed in a matter of minutes. Deep spiritual surgery has occurred in a short space of time, and I feel so clean and pure I want to shout for joy. The crucifixion of my sin frees me. I love her so much. I love ALL of it – the complete package — because it’s so highly effective. Telling her to dilute it would compromise the content of the message. It wouldn’t get through to my heart. I WANT it to get through. Less sin, more peace. The truth sets me free.

One hundred percent of people with this spiritual gift look like they’re mad, but they are not mad. They also sound arrogant, but they’re usually not. They are certain about the truth, and their utter confidence comes across as pride. But my husband and my gray-haired mentor friend are two of the most humble people I know, and now I know why. They’ve been slammed across the head their whole life for speaking the truth, and they are especially hated at church. To be misunderstood for so many years is humiliating. Pastors talk to you and rebuke you and tell you not to use your spiritual gift. Really? Now what do you do? You must submit to your pastor, but if you bury your spiritual gift in the sand… there’s someone else you’re ticking off, and that’s God. Scripture is very clear that God is ticked off with people who bury their spiritual gift. You are not allowed to do that. You must continue to see error and know the answer, and speak it.

If any of you know someone with the gift of discernment, please don’t despise their gift. It is the least liked gift in the church, but if you don’t listen to that person, or tell them to shut up, it’s like gouging out your eye. Every true church has at least one person with this gift, since God never leaves a church without all the spiritual gifts represented. I dare you to find one that is in your church.

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16 Responses to “The Cursed Gift of Discernment”

  1. Susan Evans says:

    Scripture says people will not like the gift of discernment, but this is why it’s important:
    Proverbs 9:8-9
    Proverbs 12:1
    Proverbs 15:10
    Proverbs 15:31-32
    Proverbs 28:23

    If you yourself have this spiritual gift, you have the obligation to speak the truth in love, and to be gentle in your delivery:
    Colossians 4:6
    Proverbs 15:1
    Proverbs 16:5
    Proverbs 20:9
    However, if you are speaking the truth in love, and the people you are speaking to know that you love them, and they just don’t like what you’re saying, that is not your problem. You have delivered it as best you know how, and that is all that God requires of you. Remember, Scripture says that people with this gift will be hated. So don’t be surprised.

  2. Tim says:

    Hi, yep… I know about this gift cause its one of the ones I have been given by God to me for a reason. People who have the gift of discernment in the church, it’s important for them to grow; to know what’s good & evil. God bless yah.. Bye now..

  3. Kim says:

    I’m pretty sure I have this gift, if not I have the prophetic gift which seems the same. It comes off arrogant but it’s not and it’s really hard to temper it with what people consider to be “kindness.” I dont sugar-coat things, i dont need to but I dont wish for feelings to get hurt. I just hate when people are misunderstanding God or his word. I know I dont know everything, but most people are way off concerning who God is. We need to abandon this hierarchy church system and get back to the way it is supposed to be where people are the instruments of God (NOT just the “Pastor”) and have to grow personally in Him and His word in order to fulfill their roles and build up the body. I dont see anyone using gifts in the church on Sunday. Do you? Are there people with prophecies, tongues, healings, miracles, etc? DO they get a chance during our “gathering together” to exercise said gifts? Or are they all staring at the back of each others heads in silence while one man gives his interpretation of the scriptures?
    NO wonder the “church” is screwed up. But thank God the Bride is still being perfected and called out. We need to get back to the Bible and stop following man-made religion. There is my prophecy for today.
    🙂

  4. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for the encouraging article! I have been ill treated by many for years due to this gift, but it is like a 6th sense to me and it saddens me when I am shown something and try to warn/inform others and they won’t listen, but the Lord has to be the one to work on their hearts.
    The thing I still have’nt figured out yet though is that I know other people, such as my dad (ex-pastor) who also claim to have the gift of discernment but have the opposite view on many Biblical things than myself. Most claim to know and love truth, but what is really truth if we disagree? One of my main passions is to seek and know truth. Jesus says He is truth so the closer we know him and his character the more we will know the truth 🙂 Blessings!

    • Susan says:

      You grow in your spiritual gift. For example, a person who just came to know the Lord and has not spent a lot of time in Scripture will not always be correct in their thinking, especially with discernment.

      Other people don’t have the gift of discernment but think they have the gift, so they’re wrong in what they say. They have a different gift instead.

      Other times people we think are saved aren’t, and they are just arguing to win arguments. The best thing to do is to walk by the Spirit and study the Word of God.

  5. Carla says:

    Thanks for this article. I try to remember the verses, “tell the truth in love” and to “gently instruct,” but sometimes it seems like some people just don’t hear you unless you state it emphatically.

    Also, some people think “love” means “agree with anything I do and don’t ever criticize.”

    So it can be kind of tough.

  6. Kayla says:

    I don’t have this spiritual gift but I was told that I was supposed to have some kind of discernment. my discernment has been very weak ever since I got saved… it is getting stronger but little by little I don’t know why it is and was so weak though. my sisters in Christ make fun and make comments about it… some elders tell me I should have some kind of discernment… I’ve been trying to figure out why… it makes me feel out of place and it really hurts me because I need to have it for what I am called to do.

  7. Sharon says:

    What do I do though, when my gift of discernment makes me incredibly uncomfortable when I am in the room with someone who I know has a problem (big problem) in a certain area but that person has been entrusted with a position in church? I have not spoken to my pastor about this because he has told me in the past that he has the gift of discernment but he actually put this person in this position. I am afraid if I go to him with my concerns which I cannot prove at this time because nothing physical has occurred that I am aware of, he will shoot me down. I have spent the majority of my life being shot down so I tend to get very gun shy.

    • Susan says:

      I would pray strongly in the Lord about the situation. I would ask the Lord to provide an opportunity to speak to the actual person who is sinning. God has sometimes prompted me to write a letter to the one who is sinning, so that you have their undivided attention. You have to make sure you are guided by the Spirit and rebuke with gentleness as much as possible. I would not tell the pastor about another person’s sin if you have not told the person who is actually sinning first. Matthew 18 commands us to go to the sinning person first.

  8. Angela says:

    I just googled “the curse of discernment” and ran across your post. I’m married to a man with this gift, and I know he is right on practically every issue that raises its ugly head in our church and in our family. I also know his heart and that he loves people, loves God, he is humble…but like you say, it comes across to others as arrogant – maybe even Pharisaical. My problem is it seems to rob so much joy from our lives. I’m not sure what my response needs to be other than pray – for him, others, myself… For example, he brought to light something years ago regarding a youth pastor that needed to be dealt with. It was wrong and my husband being a church leader (deacon), father… brought this issue to the deacon body. He wasn’t trying to get the youth minister fired, but just wanted the leadership in our church to hold him accountable and provide more oversight – which obviously the young man needed. It was a “confidential” matter and my husband had not gossiped about any of it (he is very tight mouthed – not a big talker, gossip,…). Anyway, when he arrived at the church for this deacon’s meeting with the young man, there was all the youth group led by the parents of a friend of our daughter’s (and our friends too) literally picketing the outside of the meeting – with signs asking to support the youth minister, give grace,… In the meeting deacons showed up that hadn’t been to meetings in months. Deacons were armed with written notes of verses about grace and forgiveness. Before my husband could even address the deacons with the details of the situation he was bombarded with all this – bearing in mind that none of this should have even been made public (at this point). He had just contacted the chairman of the deacons and requested a meeting and explained to him the situation. How did all these people know? Again, he stepped out on a limb to stand for Christ and people in our church were there to “cut the limb off”. Okay, now to my question. That was years ago – shortly after he went and spoke with the family who rallied the youth and “cleared the air”, but they never really apologized – I think they believe and probably still do, that they were doing God’s work. Fast forward to now and that same family is hosting a youth swim party at their house. I have been working with the youth recently (about 3rd new youth pastor since the one mentioned above) and I could feel tension from my husband this morning about me going to the event. I have just gotten to expect people to be wishy-washy and not truly stand up for Christ. I believe people have good intentions and good hearts, but they just blow with the wind. I’ve forgiven them and just want to work together to help the youth that are here now. But, I can tell it stirs up old hurts with him. This situation above was coupled with several more following – several different pastors… our church just drifts and the leadership, although loving and caring just doesn’t have any discernment and my husband has stepped out of leadership because no one ever listened -even when what he would say and predict always ended up happening and bringing problems into our church. But, what do I do? I’m so tired of always being on pins and needles. I’m so tired of life being so “hard”. I’m tired of the joy being sucked out of life because we live in such an evil world and Christians are compromising at every turn. I know they are, but I’m not. I just want to have “normal” relationships and not carry around so much disappointment over people and their actions. What advice can you give? Am I just trying to “go along to get along”? My husband says he feels he is accountable to the people our church influences – but how is he accountable if he isn’t there (in leadership, he attends church services) – if he isn’t actually still in the fight? When is walking away ok and when is it wrong? Sorry, I’m just confused and needed to vent. Not even sure if I communicated well – probably makes my husband out to be a real jerk, but I know he isn’t. I’m just not sure what our plan needs to be regarding a church home. This discernment situation also has brought pain in our family as we are dealing with 2 prodigals. The situations they bring to the table are “black and white” in scripture, but most evangelical Christians are going along to get along with their kids doing the same things – not us, and that is bringing a much deeper level of pain than this church situation. Well, any advice or encouragement is appreciated. Thanks!

    • Susan says:

      Just follow what Christ asks you to do. You can feel peace in your soul if you care more about God than the opinions of man. Ask God if you are in the right church, and He will lead you.

    • Sue says:

      I feel your pain! When you truly love people and clearly see the hurt or harm they are going to experience and they refuse to accept it it’s like your heart breaking over and over again. I am sorry you have to go thru this. What is your gift? Maybe using your gift will aid your Husbands in some way. I just felt a nugde to write you becasue you seemed so overwhelmed and I get it. To sum it up, I equate the gift to the love we have for our children. We can tell them the right ways based on our parental disernment, but sometimes they have to figure it out for themselves . For some children, it doesn’t take long for them the “get it”, others it may taker longer or never. As a parent, trusting in God is so hard because sometimes you sit back and watch knowing each and every heartache they will go through all because they refuse to accept what you see as the truth. The problem is that our truth ( the gift is disernment) is not their truth. For whatever reason, they have to go through this and ughhh it is so hard but I have to trust that Jesus knows the best way in the end. Anyway, bless you sister, I hope this finds you comfort

  9. Bob says:

    I have not used my gift for the last 35 years. It always gets me in trouble. But, I’ve decided to use it now….

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