What is the difference between judgement and discernment?
For me, the simple test – based on study of scripture and of linguistics – is this:
1) When you are giving a critique of words (weighing what is said) or actions (what is done) and comparing those words/actions to a scriptural standard, you are being discerning.
2) When you are critiquing the unstated motives of individuals (why did they do/say what they did/said?) or their state of salvation (where is their destination in the afterlife), you are judging.
In the first case, we are instructed to be discerning, and this is completely acceptable. In the second case, we are being judgemental, which is to be left up to God.
As Matthew 7:2 states: For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
In light of this, it is important that the focus of critique be on words and actions and not on ad homenim insinuations, mockery and ‘guessing’ the state of someone else’s heart or spiritual final destination.Â
I find myself forgetting this sometimes, particularly when my sarcasm gene kicks in…