Jason E. Fort
Discernment - How it's helped me in both Law Enforcement and Writing
Discernment - another term for it has been discerning spirits - is a spiritual gift from God given by the Holy Spirit to God's redeemed. How do we know this? First of all, various verses in I Corinthians, I John, Acts, and Hebrews tell us in so many words. But what does it mean?
Here are several ways 'discerning spirits', or discernment, is defined:
"the God-given ability to distinguish between the truth of the Word and the deceptive doctrines propagated by demons."
"the ability to detect motivation and the spirits that motivate."
"being able to distinguish, discern, judge or appraise a person, statement, situation, or environment."
"to discern good and evil."
"to clearly recognize and distinguish between the influence of God, Satan, the world, and the flesh in a given situation."
So what spirits are we talking about here?
There are three main spirits, with a lower case 's', and this refers to demonic spirits, angels, and human spirits. The human spirits are things like someone having a spirit about them that is prideful, vengeful, spiteful, jealous, lustful, disingennous, addiction/gluttony, obsession, menacing, etc. I see myself as better at determining human spirits... Reading people. Not somuch the supernatural side of things, though I think if I explored it enough or was exposed to the supernatural world, I could develop this gift.
So how do I know if I have this spiritual gift?
I actualy have taken a couple of Spiritual Gift tests, and scored higher in this category both times; other gifts weren't remotely close, so it stood out. It also makes sense if one knows my upbringing, things I avoided with purpose...even how horror movies and extremely hard core music has made me feel my whole life; very uncomfortable. Add to that the sense of protection I always had, being the oldest brother; later being bigger than friends; having an only son; always breaking up fights (after getting into a few myself growing up). Bottom line, I always felt like I could read people pretty well, and I have even been told that most of my adult life. I also always felt like I could tell if something wasn't quite right; sense of uneasiness before given situations. Kind of bodes well for a police officer.
It's obvious how this applies to law enforcement. What about writing?
It is what I write about; I write about foreseeable negative or dangerous circumstances in given world scenarios in the national or world spotlight, and try to help people at least open their minds to the potential of such threats, most of those threats existing on the part of evil intentions by certain people and entities in the world around us. Sure - I do it through fiction. I mainly do that so I don't make too many people think I am crazy at once :)
Have there been advantages, and possibly even difficulties as you have developed or learned more about this gift?
I think this really helped me when I was a bouncer. I truly believe there were strange, almost precise times where I was in the right place, to be that right influence or even corrective influence at a vulnerable point in several people's lives. I think being able to discern people's motives, desires, or intentions helped keep me safe during those days.
I think the yearning to be protective as I got older is what lead me to increase my knowledge of self-defense, physical fitness, and even psychological behavior in others. All of those areas are essential to being able to protect oneself and others, and I also learned a lot more about situational awareness in the process. Being aware of your surroundings and especially the people in them can help so much in determing whether there is danger around you or not.
I think there were times growing up where some of the experiences I had to have to awaken certain parts of me were difficult. I think my temperament was challenging to get a hold of growing up, especially when I hit puberty, and even a time or two in college. But knowing things like that about myself also comfirmed with me why I should take one certain path instead of another - the one that lead to wise decisions and serving others, or the one that lead to a lack of inhibitions. It was an easy choice for me, knowing it was bad enough if I lost my temper stone cold sober; what would I be like if I were drunk?
What has been the most rewarding?
I may just be assuming too much here, but the more I have thought about this over the years, the more I have noticed - especially since I got into law enforcement - that people generally feel very safe around me. I don't mean just physically. It seems like everyone I meet, for one reason or another, wants to drop their guard around me and open up and tell me the most personal stuff. They don't necessarily want me to answer or solve problems, but it is like they feel like I am a safe sounding board. I think this has to do with them knowing what they see is what they get. And I don't think someone who is very fake can also be one who is good at true discernment.
As usual, that's just my two cents.