The sun is shining, the sand is shimmering and the sea is sparkling. If you’re anything like me you want to run straight down to the water’s edge and into the crashing waves. I’m a country bumpkin and getting to the ocean, although it’s only really 2 hours away from us, seems to only happen once or twice a year.
BUT if I were to use my discernment, I would stand back and survey the surf to analyse where there could be dangerous rips, rocks or drop offs. I would check to see whether there were any shiny blue bottle jellyfish lining the wet sand where the waves crash.
THEN I would decide whether that ocean was a safe place to take my family swimming, despite the fact that there could be a bunch of other families doing so. (And then coming crying into shore with painful tentacles wrapped around their poor child’s chest)
If I just dove in I could get pulled out to dangerous places, eaten or stung. My husband does not understand my fascination with the ocean. He says he’d rather be safely atop it in a boat than swim in it.
The point is that life is a lot like the ocean and the book of Proverbs is full of warning signs that can help evaluate whether a situation or relationship is wise for us to enter, even though plenty of others may be oblivious to those signs.
This is called discernment.
If you’re hanging out with someone who is kind to you but rude to everyone else, at some point, when familiarity sets in, they are going to treat you that way too. If they are constantly sneaking off at work to do their own thing or misusing office funds here and there, don’t assume that just praying enough will change that if you are to go into relationship with them, whether that be business or marriage.
Be discerning, step back and survey the situation. Make wise assessments.
Proverbs 16:21 The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction
I was thinking about this verse in relation to parenting. Sometimes we need to pull back and think about what’s really going on, the heart attitudes, not just the behavior. Is what is being shown actually an attitude we’ve portrayed onto them and they are only reflecting it back? We need to ask God to show us the root and give us the resource and wisdom to deal with that. Where there is bad fruit, there is always a root.
Sometimes the root can be in us. As I’ve stopped to ask God why my Miss 4 or 2 is acting a certain way, He’s asked me what my attitude towards them is? Am I projecting an attitude, of you’re driving me nuts, get off me, just be quiet onto them?
Is that why my child is tuning out when I give her instructions? God’s been challenging me to examine my everyday attitudes towards them and choose to replace them with better ones.
If you’re looking for practical parenting advice to get to the bottom of what’s really going on with your child and to use phrases that they will respond to, I’ve been finding the blog, A Mother Far From Home very helpful.
So once we’ve been wise in heart, and discerning of what’s happening beneath the surface, it’s given us a chance to think and respond with words that help people understand us, though not everyone is going to respond well.
Discernment is one of the 4Ds of Proverbs that Can Make or Break Your Life. So while this Scripture verse is not one that we would think to necessarily memorise or teach our children, I think that understanding what discernment is, is vital to making good choices.
Discernment is being able to look under the surface of a situation to what’s really going on. Being able to speak pleasant or gracious words, can diffuse a situation, or help others see our point of view, just like a gentle answer can turn away wrath. (Last month’s Scripture Memory Printable and Video)
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