Having recently posted something that drew the criticism of some of my readers — all of whom responded with great civility by reply and by private email, I might add — I recalled that some time late last year, I promised to share my thoughts on my faith.
I had this recollection because I remembered the value statement occupying the third spot on my list:
In order to realize the value I place on faith, I will listen to others and act with discernment with their thoughts in regard to God.
Now, I don’t like having people disagree with me any more than the next guy. Yet, I am learning that God hasn’t given me the talent of always being right.
So I listen to other people. Even when their ideas don’t match mine. And especially when those ideas are about what God is calling them to do. I appreciate them for voicing their concerns and challenging what I say. I have discovered that I have much to learn.
Discernment is such a difficult exercise. In my view (and I’m sure there will be those who disagree), discernment is a process that combines listening, thinking, sorting, inquiring, and ultimately feeling. Discernment is making the best decision you can in a given moment and feeling good about the effort and the outcome. Discernment, like all human endeavors, is an imperfect activity.
The beauty of my faith is that my God is too big to be dethroned by my mistake in judgment. The beauty of my faith is the depth added to my relationship when I know that what I’ve discerned is enough for the moment. If I was wrong, God will bring me back on target. And I will always be trying to get it right.
I truly believe that God will deliver me from myself. And my faith says that he will deliver you, too. That’s the real message, isn’t it?