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Discernment

Briefing: Is it possible for law enforcement officers to develop a sixth sense? Have you experienced it?

Dispatch (Assignment): Think of a time when your “cop sense” kicked in and you perceived danger or wrong doing before you actually had evidence of the truth?

On the Street: What is discernment and why is it important? Webster defines discernment as an act of perceiving or discerning something. Police have something similar, we call it our sixth sense. It is an ability law enforcement officers have that warns them when something is not quite right. I have no proof but I believe discernment and a police officer’s “sixth sense” are one in the same. I believe that God has given the law enforcement officer an extra measure of discernment. The following verses are part of the reason I believe we have been given this gift.

Proverbs 2:11-15 (HCSB), “Discretion will watch over you, and understanding will guard you, rescuing you from the way of evil, from the one who says perverse things, from those who abandon the right paths to walk in ways of darkness, from those who enjoy doing evil and celebrate perversion, whose paths are crooked, and whose ways are devious.”

We know from Romans chapter 13, that God has ordained the law enforcement officer. We are called to be His agents of justice while in the flesh. God calls and equips us for our various callings in life.

Do you want to be saved from wicked men? Every law enforcement officer wants this kind of protection. Discretion, understanding, and wisdom are characteristics of discernment/police sixth sense. This call to wisdom and discretion should be engraved on the walls of every police academy.

God is the giver of all good gifts. He has given tools and skills that should be on every law enforcement officers Christmas list. Discernment and wisdom are two of the best tools we can possess.

As I was researching this topic I ran across a short snippet I wanted to include:

“Police officers are said to possess a “sixth sense,” defined in terms of suspicion, fear, intuition, and even common sense. Research and training on the sixth sense, however, lack theoretical guidance. To address this shortcoming, the author likens the sixth sense to an experiential thinking style, which not only explains why police officers presumably have it, but also makes it possible to know whether they even have a sixth sense at all.”
American Journal of Criminal Justice, June 2012
The Police Sixth Sense: An Observation in Search of a Theory
John L. Worrall

Discernment is a gift that can be honed and sharpened. It is a tool that all law enforcement could benefit greatly from. Even if you don’t believe that sixth sense and discernment are the same things, seek to sharpen your discernment skills.

Proverbs 10:13 (HCSB), “Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of the one who lacks sense.”

Proverbs 16:21 (NIV), “The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.” We can glean that discerning people are wise. Wisdom can be found when they speak.

Proverbs 17:28 (NIV), “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” And we can glean wisdom when they don’t speak.

Proverbs 17:24 (NIV), “A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” A person of discernment thinks before they act and/or they train themselves to act in ways that are in agreement with the way they think.

Proverbs 21:29 (HCSB), “A wicked man puts on a bold face, but the upright man considers his way.”

Proverbs 18:15 (HCSB), “The mind of the discerning acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks it.”

Proverbs 17:10 (HCSB), “A rebuke cuts into a perceptive person more than a hundred lashes into a fool.”

A person of discernment is always looking to improve. For most of us, we learn from doing and having someone critique our actions and behaviors. Just like an athlete whose coach shows them where they are not performing proper technique, is a discerning person who looks for outside influences to point out mistakes or areas that need improvement.

Proverbs 28:7 (HCSB), “A discerning son keeps the law, but a companion of gluttons humiliates his father.”

Here are a few more proverbs about discernment, although the word “discernment” is not appear in the verses, the proverbs clearly point to acts of discernment:

Proverbs 25:4-5 (HCSB), “Remove impurities from silver, and a vessel will be produced for a silversmith. Remove the wicked from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established in righteousness.”

Proverbs 26:10 (HCSB), “The one who hires a fool or who hires those passing by is like an archer who wounds everyone.”

Proverbs 26:17 (HCSB), “A person who is passing by and meddles in a quarrel that’s not his is like one who grabs a dog by the ears.”

Proverbs 26:24-26 (HCSB), “A hateful person disguises himself with his speech and harbors deceit within. When he speaks graciously, don’t believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart. Though his hatred is concealed by deception, his evil will be revealed in the assembly.”

Proverbs 27:22 (HCSB), “Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with grain, you will not separate his foolishness from him.”

Proverbs 28:11 (HCSB), “A rich man is wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has discernment sees through him.”

Ok, there is no research or training that can be offered up to prove sixth sense. Some people say it is only a thinking style. Faith is the evidence of things unseen. I cannot see the wind but I can see evidence of the wind when I see a leaf blow across my yard. I have experienced sixth sense and have always thanked God for it after the evidence of the unseen came to pass. If you want discernment, or more of it, ask the giver of all good gifts.

Investigational Resources: Genesis 41:39, Philippians 1:9 and 3:15, 1 John 2:27, Romans 12:2, 1 Corinthians 1:17-26 and 2:9-14, 1 Timothy 6:20, Colossians 2:8, and John 7:17

Officer Safety Principle: Call it whatever you want, sixth sense or discernment. I chose to call it discernment and I’ll tell you why. If this gift is from God, and Proverbs tells us it is, I will not disrespect the giver by giving credit to some mysterious, so called, extra sensory phenomenon. Thank you Lord for giving law enforcement officers the gift of discernment.

from The Book of Proverbs Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
Click here to check out the entire Through the Eyes of a Cop series!

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