Character Blog

Discernment – I’m learning the difference between wrong and right

By September 3, 2019 No Comments

Hosea 14:9 “Whoever is discerning, let him know them, for the ways of the Lord are right.”


Charles Spurgeon, a late 1800s preacher, wisely stated “Discernment is not a matter of telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.

We all know that discernment is the ability to distinguish differences. Examples of discernment is being able to differentiate what is true from what is false or being able to identify virtue compared to vice. When we are discerning, we consider not only the difference between two items or actions but also the relationship, the cause and effect.

As our children develop their cognizance of the world around them, including relational knowledge, it is extremely important for parents to guide them in the way of discernment. Every day there is an opportunity to show them: What is wrong? What is right? What is true? What is false?



     Be on the lookout for those meaningful moments with your child in which you can guide them in discernment! Here are three small (but huge in the long-term) ways to get started:

  • OBSERVE –Our kiddoes have plenty of life learning opportunities throughout the day. Last week, our character trait was alertness and it’s always a good reminder that as parents being on the lookout is a major part of our job! If we are alert, that means we are actively paying attention or observing what is happening with our children. The truth is…observing helps us to be more discerning in our parenting! And taking the time to observe is an investment in our children and in their character building.
  • CONVERSE – When you’ve done some observing, you’re ready to have a conversation on choices made and the consequences of those choices. What did they do? What should they have done? What will they do next time? Be sure to use Scripture as a foundation for the “whys”. The verse above from Hosea reminds us “The ways of the Lord are right.” As your children get older, these conversations will grow in length and depth and will be sweet to the soul!
  • ENCOURAGE – Celebrate small victories! Let your kiddoes know that you are proud of their discernment! The more you converse, the more opportunities for encouragement. And the more encouragement and feedback you give, the more likely that your child will continue to look to you for guidance in areas of discernment. This relationship is vital during the teen years!


“True discernment means not only distinguishing the right from the wrong; it means distinguishing the primary from the secondary, the essential from the indifferent, and the permanent from the transient. And, yes, it means distinguishing between the good and the better, and even between the better and the best.”

Sinclair B. Ferguson


Tracy LaBreche