Discretion (Psalm 112:5; Proverbs 2:11; 22:3; Romans12: 2, 9; 14:19, 22) keeps our minds and focus on sound judgment, giving serious attention and thought to what is going on around us. In that way, we can better choose our words, attitudes, and actions carefully to model goodness and righteousness for any given situation, thus avoiding words and actions that could result in adverse consequences. With this character, we will be able to recognize and avoid the wrong attitudes that create objectionable words, actions, etc., that are condescending to others and can bring terrible relationship consequences.
Carelessness, Recklessness, Impulsiveness, Irresponsibility, and a Lack of Concern are the opposites. If we possess these diabolical traits, we will fail to see others as important or worth our effort to respond to them in a tactful and good relational way. We will have the world's mentality of "let it all hang out" or "tell it like it is," which will allow us to say a careless word, even unintentionally, to cause hurt or to use words and actions to tear others down. Gossip and slander will be our tools of destruction; chaos and calamity will be in our wake!
As kids we may have said, "sticks and stones my break my bones but words will never hurt me." But, as an adult, we know how much words do hurt, and stay with us for decades to come. Discretion, especially with words, is paramount for the Christian! Christian Discretion is learning how to respond to others--in the ordinary times of life as well as in the difficult situations--with thoughtfulness and tact. It is putting the rest of the characteristics into our minds, so they come out of our mouths. It is putting forth what we have learned and gained from our personal growth and maturity in Christ, applying it within the parameters of the wisdom and character of Christ. Sounds like a mouthful, but we have to be growing Christians so we know what it means to model our Lord. We have to have a firm grasp on His Character so we can know what is appropriate and what is inappropriate. A mature Christian will be able to see beyond our self and our wishes and desires, so we can also see the consequences of how words and actions will affect others around us, now, and further down the road. A mature Christian will not let their moods and feelings take over their composure or their mouth.
To put this in action we must remember to think before we speak, and be careful not to say things that could hurt someone or cause a fight or argument. We must strive to avoid bad influences and questionable activities, as they will manipulate us, and as garbage is poured in our minds, garbage comes out in our words and deeds. We will not let our words or body language discourage one another. We will know that showing respect to authority is right and Biblical. At the same time, we must be willing to stand up for what is right. This translates into not ever gossiping or talking negatively about others at work, school, home, church, or anywhere in the universe, period, while we claim Christ as Lord!
"Our strength is shown in the things we stand for; our weakness is shown in the things we fall for." "People of genius are admired; people of wealth are envied; people of power are feared;but only people of characterare trusted."
Is the Character of Discretion working in you?
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Discretion from God's most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:
- How do I exhibit Discretion in my daily life?
- What can I do to develop a better attitude about being more cautious with how I come across to others?
- What blocks Discretion from working and being exhibited in me?
- How can I make Discretion function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
· Here are positive examples from Scripture (Dan. 1:8-16: Matt. 21:23-27; Luke 2:15-19; Acts 15:6-30, Rom. 14:13-23)
· Here are negative examples from Scripture (Judges 11:29-40; Eccles. 5:1-7; Matt. 19:16-26; Luke 1:8-23; Gal. 2:1-5; 11-16)
- How would you define Discretion? Do you think through and give serious attention to what you are doing, and how you come across to others?
- What are the things that cause you not to be Discreet with your words?
- How does being careless counteract Discretion? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace…) when you show no concern?
- What happens to your relationship with God and with others, and the opportunities God gives you, when you are irresponsible?
- When have you been filled with Discretion the most?
- In what situation did you fail to be Discreet when you should have been?
- What issue is in your life that would improve with more Discretion? Are you willing to be a discreet person?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put Discretion into action in a specific instance, such as how your choice in clothing affects others around you, then, think about how to be better with your choice of what and how you do things, so to be uplifting to others rather than distracting or tearing them down. Do you put forth Christian Discretion to others, as you should? If not, why? What can you do to improve coming across to others as mature in the faith?