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Discernment, Discernment, Discernment

It is frightening how often we human beings face a situation in which we must make a decision that will affect the lives of others. Will the choice we make be one that promotes good, or will our choice empower evil? All too often many of us make decisions without thinking only later to regret what we have done. While there are individuals who have been given the spiritual gift of discernment most of us have to work at the practice of spiritual discernment.

As a spiritual director I have no doubt that the level of usage of the tools of discernment is influenced by our motivation, values, and priorities. The more our motivation is centered in our desire to be influence by the Holy Spirit and a humble commitment to spiritually advance the stronger our faith will be. However, even our motivations should be examined, and the principles of discernment applied.

It is the motivation, or the spirit behind the action, that determines whether the action is part of the solution or part of an ongoing problem.[1]

When examining our motivations, it is important to be totally honest with oneself. This is not always easy. We human beings are very good at self-deception. If you are not sure of why you do something, write down all the reasons why you think you might be doing something (i.e., for payment, position, pleasure, power, etc.). Which of your motives are based on serving the Lord and others? After you have done this make a list of benefits of what you are doing. Then make a list of the consequences of doing what you are doing.

Finally, look over the material and ask God to help you truly understand your motive.

If your motive is pure and fits within the motives our Lord, we should then continue in confidence. If a person is not such of their choice, perhaps they should re-evaluate what we are doing or why we are making the decision we are making.

Never has the need for discernment been so great. There are so many things that can tempt, distract, deceive, confuse, and damage us spiritually. Thankfully we have a Lord that understands what we face and is willing to walk with us and guide us if we will but be open to direction.

[1] Skurja, Catherine. Paradox Lost. Whitaker House. Kindle Edition.

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