Brothers and sisters:
Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ
and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Now it is of course required of stewards
that they be found trustworthy.
It does not concern me in the least
that I be judged by you or any human tribunal;
I do not even pass judgment on myself;
I am not conscious of anything against me,
but I do not thereby stand acquitted;
the one who judges me is the Lord.
Therefore, do not make any judgment before the appointed time,
until the Lord comes,
for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness
and will manifest the motives of our hearts,
and then everyone will receive praise from God.
First Corinthians 4:1-5
We always seek truth as stewards of the mysteries of God. We must be trustworthy in our seeking and our stewardship. One of the mysteries is the Spirit, and there is always the consideration of discernment of spirits compared and contrasted to the process and act of judgment.
To discern and draw wise conclusions is helpful and actually necessary in order to avoid pitfalls, temptations, and wrongful situations. It is necessary to discern right from wrong which includes filtering the gray areas. In a sense, this seems like making judgments for discerning does involve decisions based upon what we discern as right and the will of God.
In critical reading skills, a higher level on the hierarchy is making judgments based upon what we read, or drawing conclusions after filtering fact and fiction. But this is probably technically more in the realm of discernment when reading. Judging other people, is that which in Scriptures we are told to avoid. St. Paul mentions he does not even pass judgment on himself.
However, discerning the spirits and discerning God's will for us, and discerning our thoughts and actions as well as discerning situations that do affect our lives, is a critical thinking skill most necessary in our temporal and spiritual lives. But to take it to the next level and judge others, which includes drawing conclusions and passing edict in spiritual matters, is not in our job descriptions.
"Nothing" here, is trying to take St. Paul's advice, including not passing judgment on self. It is well to learn to discern and make decisions personally based upon discernment of spirits within and without and all about.
We make mistakes. We have made mistakes. We will make mistakes. The better we discern ourselves and situations, the fewer the mistakes. Yet it is not in the mistakes that we ought dwell. Rather, it is in striving forth to being trustworthy stewards of the mysteries of God.
One such mystery is discovering in each moment, God's will for us and how to live out His will. Sometimes the discernment process begins and yet does not produce fast results. We may think we are doing His will, and the good Spirit of Truth seems to have given us peace, but over time we may discover that the evil spirit tricked us, and the situation reveals itself as not at all God's will.
Mostly, though, discernment unfolds predictably along the moral code of ethics as well as very much in His Living Word. A well-formed conscience helps. Praying and discussing with those trusted other stewards in our lives, helps. Putting forth in action then usually proves or disproves our decision based upon the discernment. Either good results or not so good. Then we learn and adjust and try again.
Sometimes making a list of the pro's and con's is a means of discerning the spirits either before or during or after some thought or situation.
It seems as if in this "nothing's" life, there is a good amount of jumping in after having done what seemed to be reasonable research, only to find out that His Real Presence had other reasons for a door opening. It seems as if He gives "assignments." Wasn't it Jeremiah who accused the Lord of "duping" him? He felt tricked into difficult situations in which God gave an assignment that involved reprimanding the people and reminding them to return to the path of greater good and of following God no matter what.
Dear His Real Presence! Please help us to learn discernment and never fear making mistakes as we learn, for it seems a life-long effort to learn this skill and gift. It is like driving a car: We never get to a point in which we are so sure and adept that we can ignore the process and are accident-proof. Even if an accident occurs due to the fault of another, we must learn "defensive discernment" so as to avoid as many collisions as possible. This helps others as well as ourselves.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little Children, let us love one another for God Is Love!
[When the computer hard drive crashed a couple weeks ago, the garden photos were not retrievable. They are on an external hard drive, somewhere buried in the boxes here at Te Deum House, very much yet in renovation mode.]