October 7, 2019

All That's Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment

"The goal of discernment is not to simply avoid the evil in this life; it is to learn what is good so that we might embrace and enjoy it." Hannah Anderson
This book started out talking about pies.

And I thought...'I don't know if I'm going to get through this one!' But I'm so glad I stuck with it. It was filled with such wisdom and truth.

This book addresses the commands of Philippians 4:8...

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." 

Here are the chapter headings:

1. Taste and See
2. The Good Earth
3. Worldly Wise
4. Whatever is True
5. Whatever is Honorable
6. Whatever is Just
7. Whatever is Pure
8. Whatever is Lovely
9. Whatever is Commendable
10. Every Good Gift
11. Our Common Good

I thought I'd share a bit from chapter 9: Whatever is Commendable.

The author says here of what is commendable:

"When someone blasphemes, they denigrate or speak inappropriately about things that deserve honor and respect, including things of a religious or sacred nature...

...By extension then, seeking whatever is 'commendable' means giving attention to both what we talk about and how we talk about it.

Becoming discerning people includes developing a taste for things that should be communicated and avoiding things that are best left unsaid or unuttered. It's understanding that what a person chooses to talk about reveals as much about them as what they say about it. 

It's knowing that what we give attention to will shape us and the world in which we live. It's aligning ourselves with people who speak well and becoming those people ourselves."

And here:

"...when the Scripture calls us to whatever is commendable, it is calling us to something greater than niceness - it's calling us to speak what is right and good. It is calling us to speech that is richer and more robust than either platitudes or silence. 

Remember that discernment is not concerned primarily with our social comfort. It is concerned with goodness. And sometimes pursuing goodness will lead us outside the boundaries of polite conversation."

When we think about Philippians 4:8 we often skim over this word. It's easier to think about what is true, what is lovely, what is just, but we often forget about what is commendable.

Commendable means we must speak out.

The author says here:

"When we simply won't speak against evil - whether because we have a vested interest in maintaining status quo or because we're preserving our own sense of comfort - we enable it to continue. 

When we refuse to expose the things done in secret, when we are silent in the face of wrongdoing, we become party to it by the simple fact that we have done nothing to stop it. 

As Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel observes, 'Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentors, never the tormented.' 

Instead of encouraging silence. Paul calls us to use our words to expose evil, to literally call it out."

I can think of many evil things going on in the world right now, things unspeakable, yet the world tells you these evils are good. Speak out. Encourage each other to think on what is commendable.

Embrace what is good and teach it to your children.

I highly recommend this book and I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

Buy it HERE on Amazon


  1. Thank you Cathy for this review, I agree we need to speak out against the evils in this world. I'm very active in voicing my concerns to our members of Parliament here in Australia that have the power to address many of these issues.
    And as bloggers we have a unique opportunity to voice our concerns!

    You're most welcome to join me in a cuppa & reflection at Tea With Jennifer.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Jennifer! I will stop by your blog soon. : )

  2. Really good thoughts here. It sounds like a great book. Blessings to you! I'm your neighbor at #TellHisStory.

    1. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by Gayl!

  3. That definitely sounds like an interesting book. Speaking out is something I have been talking to my children about. My past pastor used to say that the world knows what Christians are against but they do not know what we are for. We need to do a better job of teaching what is good instead of judging and telling people what they should not do. We need to speak up in love.

    1. Well said! This book is all about what is good. I highly recommend it. Thanks for stopping by!


Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. I try to respond to all of them by the end of the week. : )