To exercise discernment, I must be willing to assess, then take whatever action is necessary. Sometimes that means moving toward someone or walking away. But if I feel desperate for love, I will feel that I can’t afford to refuse anyone who promises it. The problem is that people with an agenda appear to love well. Everything they say sounds heartfelt and they are eager to make promises. Before long, I find myself trapped in a relationship and it feels too complicated to extricate myself. Those who love with strings attached will always weave a web. They appeal to my vulnerabilities and know how to speak my language. They discern where, and how, I need to be loved and promise to be what I need. They are good at making themselves irreplaceable.
Sometimes poor Christian teaching sets me up for trouble. I was taught that to be like Jesus, one must consistently be gentle as a dove. There was simply no teaching on how to also be wise as a serpent. It’s critical to know how to implement both sides of Jesus’ teaching. “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matt. 10:16 As a spiritual orphan, I’ve been taken in by people who preyed on my gentle nature. They banked on the probability that I would not refuse their aggressive attempts to come close and label me their intimate friend. In my gut, I had red flags but I felt it was un-Christlike to back away. Though I remained distant for a while, they were relentless in their pursuit of me. Not wanting to be unloving, I finally caved in. Both in personal and business/ministry relationships, I suffered the profound consequences of poor choices. In one such case, it was for two decades.
Our greatest lessons come from greatest failures! While orphans don’t have the upbringing that teaches them how to understand people, daughters in God’s kingdom need not be naive. As our perfect Parent, God is our Counselor and Guide. He teaches us how to listen to our gut – that place where the Spirit of God is usually speaking. He teaches by example ~ sending us to places in scripture where Jesus was discerning. Our Lord was a master at reading people’s agendas. Sometimes, His answers were more convicting and sharp than they were tender. It is imperative that I embrace good theology and realize that the gentleness of a dove and the wisdom of a serpent are both righteous and necessary qualities if I’m to live like Jesus. I must guard my heart and make solid decisions on how to live in the safety of righteous company. Comfort and confrontation are needed bedfellows.
I am never desperate enough for love that I should move close to someone unsafe. God loves me like no one else so He is the ‘cake’ and people are the ‘icing’. When I make people the ‘cake’ and God the ‘icing’, I make poor decisions about relationships. Oh, daughter ~ cry out today for His voice and live in the place of wisdom – God’s Words. “For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6
Every day, I’m making choices who to let in to my life. Please guide me and teach me and sharpen my discernment skills. Give me Your eyes for people. Amen