Richard Rohr: The Spiritual Gift of Discernment

The spiritual gift of discernment (1 Corinthians 12:10) is when good things can be recognized sometimes as bad things, and vice versa. Discernment has largely been undeveloped among ordinary Christians, except among those good Jesuits! It invites people into “both/and” thinking, rather than simplistic “either/or” thinking. This is the difference between merely having correct information and the spiritual gift of wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8-9). Both knowledge and wisdom are good, but wisdom is much better. It demands the maturity of discernment, which is what it takes to develop a truly consistent ethic of life. I admit the vast majority of people are not there yet.

Once we have learned to discern the real, disguised nature of both good and evil, we recognize that everything is broken and fallen, weak and poor, while still being the dwelling place of God—you and me, your country, your children, your churches, even your marriage. That is not a put-down, but finally a freedom to love imperfect things! As Jesus told the rich young man, “God alone is good!” (Mark 10:18). In this, you may have been given the greatest recipe for happiness for the rest of your life. You cannot wait for things to be totally perfect to fall in love with them or you will never love anything. Now, instead, you can love everything.–Richard Rohr, OFM

Adapted from Spiral of Violence by Richard Rohr.

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