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Bears! If You want to Survive, You’d Better Learn Discernment

Black bear in an Alaskan stream: Photo 79886466 © Sports Images |

[Originally published as Losing Truth and Discernment to a Troubled Culture]

Compassion, truth and discernment. These three go together, but many in today’s church are walking away from truth and discernment. Sadly, instead of tying compassion to truth and discernment they are tying compassion to political correctness.

I don’t usually write about cultural topics, but I see many Christians voices falling into error and I felt the desire to say something.

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The church always needs to be guided by truth. Abandoning truth and discernment leads to theological and cultural disaster.

Jesus warns us to use discernment. In Matthew 7, He uses an example from the natural world and says,

Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

The Bear Necessities of Truth and Discernment

This bear’s dark coloration makes it easy to distinguish as a black bear. Often black bears are brown in color. That sometimes makes it harder to distinguish them from grizzlies. Discerning truth is important in nature, but even more important spiritually.

Truth and discernment are important when it comes to telling the difference between a black bear and a grizzly bear.

Many things in nature point to the importance of discerning truth, such as knowing the difference between bear species. Black bears are the most common bears in North America. Although they can be dangerous, they are relatively docile when it comes to interactions with humans. When we stand clear of them they generally just go about their business, but grizzly bears are another matter.

When a grizzly bear crosses paths with a human, it is much more likely to attack than a black bear. Because of the aggressive nature of grizzlies, hikers and campers need to know the differences between the two bears.

My Bear Encounters

I have had multiple encounters with both black and grizzly bears during my wilderness wonderings. One time while driving along a rural Montana road my friend spotted a bear in a field. We stopped and got out to take some photos. We walked off the road and into the field with another photographer.

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The bears distinguishing features told us it was a black bear. This gave us confidence that we were relatively safe because we knew how to respond in the bears presence. As long as we didn’t approach or threaten the bear, it would go about its business.

Later on that same trip, we spotted a different bear with two subadult cubs in another field. We stopped and got out of the car, but stayed right next to it. These bears looked different and we recognized them as grizzlies. Because they were grizzles we knew that getting closer could possibly lead to an attack. Therefore, we stayed with the car and watched the bears while the they remained well off in a distance.

A grizzly bear roams a field in northwest Montana. The bear’s large shoulder hump and rounded ears help distinguish it from a black bear.

It’s rounded ears help distinguish it from a black bear. It’s important to be able to have truth and discernment when looking at the differences between bear species.

Spiritual Truth and Discernment and the PC Bear

Discerning the differences between the bears helps wilderness travelers to safely observe and photograph them. For the Christian, discerning truth helps us to live our lives in a way that honors God. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says, “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.” And in Philippians 1:9 the Apostle Paul writes “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment.”

The Bible calls us to act and live with compassion and understanding that is guided by truth and discernment. But when compassion is guided by political correctness it can lead to spiritual error and destructive consequences.

Political correctness is not a biblical value (Romans 12:2). Political correctness is a modern day, volatile and transient moral code developed to replace the absolute standards of an almighty God.

Concepts like “white privilege,” “white fragility,” and “critical theory” have no place in a Christian worldview. They are mythical ideas formed by a politically correct culture set out to replace God’s moral standard.

All Lives Matter to God

The absolute standards of an almighty God asserts that all lives matter. No one person or people is lesser or greater than another. The Bible says God created one race, the human race (Genesis 1:26). He created us in His image. He created us all with equal worth and equal value. And we all have sinned against God’s ultimate moral standard (Romans 3:23).

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God created man in His own image in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27

God does not see “whiteness” or “blackness” or any other “ness.” He sees people created equally in His image who are equally guilty of sin and equally in need of a Savior. He sent His son to die equally for all people so that people from every nation and every tribe can find eternal life in Him (Revelation 7:9). Skin color does not matter to God. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 3:29 that God is the God of all people.

The Condition One’s Heart Matters

What does matter to God is the condition of one’s heart. God sees people as either lost or saved—living in rebellion or living in repentance. God calls all people to repent and follow after Him.

Racism, just like so many other poor choices human beings make, is a sin. Until Christ comes, there will always be sin and injustice. All sin, including racism, will always be part of the human condition. It’s impossible for human beings to rid the world of sin. We can’t do it. Only Christ can do it and He will do it in the fullness of time (Revelation 21).

Until then, Christians are commanded to love God and love people. God calls us to stand against injustice, but we must not let the grizzly bear of political correctness lead us in any way. We must always stand on the fullness of God’s Word and use truth and discernment to guide our compassion.

Pat Mingarelli portrait

Written by Pat Mingarelli

Hi. My name is Pat Mingarelli. I am an award-winning nature photographer with a unique kind of creation ministry. As an outdoor photographer I’ve spent countless hours observing God’s hand in creation. I’ve learned that God speaks to us through His creation and the creation speaks to us about God. You find me at

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