Monday, August 31, 2009

Why is Discernment in Fiction Important?

Why is it important to learn discernment with fiction?

Considering my passion for this topic, you would think I could rattle off an answer without second thought. And I can. There is much in favor of the oft-underestimated power of story, especially in a culture where story rules.

Yet I must turn this over and over in my mind. Why bother? With topics like purity, homosexuality, the inerrancy of Scripture, abortion/euthanasia, and many other hot-button topics needing to be addressed, fiction seems like little more than a scenic detour for when we have time—which few of us ever do.

So that brings us back to the original question: Why? Why spend your precious time here, learning discernment in fiction?

I think the answer may be far simpler than I usually make it. Why is it important? Because discernment can be learned.

Sure, my focus is on the realm of fiction, largely because that’s my field of expertise. But the principles I am learning and sharing go far beyond fiction because we all need discernment for every arena of life.

Yes, I understand discernment is a gift from God. Yes, there is a special gifting of discernment listed in Scripture (sometimes called the discernment of spirits). But is that all there is to discernment? Is it only some “this is right, this is wrong” instinct that either you have or don’t have? Or is it something we can all develop and cultivate?

For discernment is the ability to learn right from wrong. God has told us what is right and wrong in the Bible. Therefore, if we can learn what God has said, we should also be able to learn what is right, what is wrong, and what is the difference between the two. We can learn discernment.

And considering the confusing and chaotic world we live in, I think that is an important topic worth spending some time on. Don’t you?

No comments: