Do You Have the Gift of Discernment or Are You Just a Jerk?

Oct 06, 2023

There's a fine line between discernment and having a critical spirit.  Sometimes when we're being critical and analyzing through everybody's behaviors, actions, and motives, sometimes we think that we're being discerning.  That the Holy Spirit is giving us wisdom and insight into what's going on… and sometimes we're just being a jerk.   


Sometimes we just have a critical spirit, and all we are doing is actually tearing down the people around us rather than building them up.   I’ve seen this a lot lately.  I’ve done it a lot unfortunately, and God has had to check me on it a bit more than I care to admit. 


And so, I've come up with three questions that I know can be extremely helpful for us to determine if in fact “I am being discerning or am I being a jerk (having a critical spirit)?  Am I building the body of Christ and the people around me up, or am I tearing people down?”


Question # 1) What is my goal in complaint or confrontation?  Am I trying to expose what's going on, or am I actually trying to build people up?  Am I speaking in a way that is going to empower people to move forward, or am I just trying to pin people down for having done something wrong?


Question #2) What pain might I be speaking out of?  Too often we come into situations and think that because we've been in another situation (where we've been hurt), that we can see this situation clearly. 

Since we have the experience of the past situation unfortunately too often, those experiences of pain don’t help us to see more clearly.  Instead, they cloud our vision, and they bring up the weight of hurt and pain that have been in our life.  They actually move us more towards being critical rather than discerning and uplifting and blessing the people around us.  So, ask yourself: what is my goal in complaint or confrontation and what pain might I be speaking out of?


Question #3) Am I vilifying the person, or am I vilifying sinful behavior?  We talk about things that are rubbing us the wrong way -- things that need to be adjusted /corrected / changed.  Those things do need to be changed.  They do need to be addressed, but the question that I have to ask myself is: am I vilifying the person or am I vilifying their sinful behavior?

Am I attacking the person because of what they have done, or am I actually trying

to build them up so that they can grow?  

So that we can move forward as a community?

So that we can unite in reconciliation?  

These are some very powerful questions that I think will help us to determine if we are being discerning or if we are having a critical spirit. 



  • What is my goal in complaint or confrontation?
  • What pain might I be speaking out of?
  • Am I vilifying the person or their sinful behavior?


I hope that's helpful for you in pursuing discernment and rejecting a critical spirit.   


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