Discernment as "not knowing" and "knowing": A perspective from Matthew 25:31-46
The article deals with Christian discernment as taking place at the juncture of God’s Spirit and the human mind at work. To illustrate this, the concept of “not knowing” in Matthew’s Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (25:31-46) is examined, as well as the implicit presence of “knowing”. The article starts by treating the concepts of “all the nations” and “the least” in the parable. It is suggested that the traditional particularist and universalist interpretations need not oppose each other. Subsequently the “not knowing” of the sheep is treated. This is related to the grace of God and being empowered by the Holy Spirit. In addition, it is submitted that “knowing” is also present, in terms of actively seeking the will of God. Thus, Christian discernment takes place at the juncture of “not knowing” (being empowered by God) and “knowing” (purposefully seeking the will of God).