What is the difference between discerning something and judging it? Matthew 7:1 says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” The context is about having a plank in your eye. Verse 5 says, “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Judging another with a critical spirit is the characteristic of a flesh reacting faultfinder. Romans 2:1 cuts to the chase. It says, “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”
Discernment is a gift-empowerment from the Holy Spirit. We discern through our spirit man. The flesh has no part. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “…the things of the Spirit of God…are spiritually discerned.” Natural reasoning cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit.
I love verse 10 which says, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” The Amplified says, “…(the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny).”
Jesus said in John 8:15, “You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.” 2 Corinthians 5:16 says, “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.” According to the flesh is external. Only the Lord knows hearts.
In my word search this morning I also added discretion. I love Proverbs 2:10-11 which says, “When wisdom has entered your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you.”
Negative judging is assessment with a critical spirit. Discernment is a gift from the Holy Spirit at the moment of need. Discretion is the fruit of walking in His wisdom and knowledge.