Ramon Arias | July 13, 2014
Oh, that our minds, eyes and ears would discern what is taking place all around us and not go down the road of destruction for the lack of it!
Has the world gone insane? Is there a nation that people can look up to for their social coherence? Can you believe the classification of certain nations as being the best places on earth to live?
Discernment should be a highly prized commodity in our lives. It is through discernment that we can arrive at good judgment by recognizing the difference between opposing views in every area of life. Discernment helps us to know, without a shadow of a doubt, what is and what is not acceptable in the world of ideas and actions.
For thousands of years, individuals as well as societies have built upon a foundation of either truth or lies. You would think that 6,000 years of history would have made us a whole lot smarter and yet we are not even close to achieving that goal. So here we are, making the same mistakes that past generations have made by not understanding the difference between truth and lies. The worse part is that when truth was revealed and brought so many benefits, human nature fought against it, modified it, mixed it with lies in desperation to create a culture away from the revealed truth of God, only to find that lies cannot sustain anyone or anything indefinitely.
The moral character of every breathing human being is of the utmost importance. No one should be exempt or given a pass just because he or she is a nice person, is articulate, appears to be knowledgeable and is very charismatic. If we do not value moral character above all traits, we should not complain about the outcome of our selections of individuals.
Have you ever heard of John Witherspoon? He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, president of Princeton College, member of the Continental Congress and a minister. He was one of the most famous and respected individuals of his time: for 26 years he served as president and professor at the College of New Jersey (Princeton). During those years some of the graduates went on to be public servants: 13 were state governors; three were U.S. Supreme Court justices; 20 were U.S. senators; 33 were U.S. congressmen; one, Aaron Burr, Jr., became vice-president, and another, James Madison, became president. Quite a record, wouldn’t you agree?
Witherspoon said the following: “The people in general ought to have regard to the moral character of those whom they invest with authority either in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches.”
“Those who wish well to the State ought to choose to places of trust men of inward principle, justified by exemplary conversation.”
Do not believe anyone that tells you he or she does not judge the behavior of others. It is impossible not to judge; it is part of our nature. We have it ingrained in our mind and our senses. Especially be cautious of anyone who likes to use Jesus’ words: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” These words are totally taken out of context. You have to understand how Jesus used that statement in Matthew 7:1-6. Jesus was condemning hypocrites in their judgment of others when they had bigger personal problems, their self-righteousness stunk!
Jesus upholds the right to judge when he said: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24). The Jews wrongfully judged Jesus’ astonishing teachings when he revealed to them that his teaching came directly from God, and the people could understand or discern whether he was speaking of his own authority or that of God’s. Jesus condemns them for not keeping the law of God and doing what is beneficial for others (John 7:14–24).
In order for us not to judge by appearances but with right judgment we must know and understand the moral law of God. Jesus said there are two ways to judge character and actions, one is right, and the other is wrong: “You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one” (John 8:15).
Jesus did not depart from God’s moral law: “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:15).
“And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him” (Deuteronomy 1:16).
Whether we like it or not, accept it or not, fight against it or ignore it; the moral law of God is the standard for living. “Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, ‘That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.’” (Romans 3:4). We are the ones who must conform to God’s ethics, not the other way around. When we remain true to God’s standards, and when our character and actions are condemned by other’s judgments, time and God will justify our actions. Our faith does not overrule the moral law of God. “Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law” (Romans 3: 31).
In order for us to judge people’s character and actions correctly we must use discernment. For us to use proper discernment we must be knowledgeable of God’s revealed truth, the Holy Scriptures. Rest assured that a nation of phonies would not thrive indefinitely. As we accept the responsibility on how we choose individuals that will affect our lives, this includes politicians; we will reap the benefits, if not we will continue to pay the consequences if we neglect to acquire proper discernment.