How to Discern Whether Someone Is Speaking From Pain or Passion

woman screaming in megaphone
If you're wanting to know if what you're hearing is from God, here's how to discern the source. (iStockPhoto)
Have you ever heard someone speak and you could feel their passion, but you knew they were angry, resentful, hurt or grinding an ax? Have you ever said something out of frustration, believing it to be passion? Have you ever listened to a song and their talent was evident but their pain was as well? Or do you have no idea what I am talking about? The bible is riddled with sayings that help us to realize there is a fine line between two opposite sources from which information flows. Knowing the source of our statements, will help us to become more effective in our communication.

It doesn't take long on Social Media, in church or on the job to see someone's passion, but the more you listen, the more you hear their frustration or pain. Words reveal our hearts and most people don't listen to themselves, so they cannot discern their own spirits, let alone someone else's spirit.

However, if we are to mature; if we are to be healed; if we are to become more Christlike; we have to be able to discern ourselves and others. For words carry a spirit and if you accept their words, you also get the spirit from which those words came from. So, we need to be very careful who we listen to, for they may sound passionate, but it could be coming from their unhealed pain.

Proverbs 16:32 says "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city." I used to love the warfare stuff, but once I went through the wilderness and allowed the Lord to heal my pain, I realized that just like Proverbs 16 says, warfare can be fuel for pain, more than it is truly passion.

Solomon ties being a mighty warrior to being impatient and angry, but most people cannot discern this, because we have been taught to value being a mighty warrior. Solomon goes on to say our desire to conquer cities is tied to our inability to conquer our own emotions, which again, he ties to anger. Anger is a protector of pain, so what looks like passion (mighty warrior or conquering a city) can actually be sourced in pain and we don't realize it.

Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is alive, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart." Without the revelation that comes through the Word of God, we cannot discern the source of what we are saying, or what others are saying. In the next move of God, Damon Thompson says, "The Lord is opening up a gate of compassion, for the closer we get to the Lord, the more we will love people and be moved with compassion toward people."

If the source of our communication is not love, it is coming from pain and not passion. Jesus did everything from love and if we have not love, we are nothing. First Corinthians 13:2-3 says, "If I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. If I give all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing."

The way you can discern if what you or someone else is saying is coming from pain or passion, is to put it through the 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 love test, for if it's not from love, it's not passion; its pain masquerading as passion.

Lisa Great is an author, speaker and blogger with Mouthpiece Ministries International. She has been in ministry for over 25 years, she has a BA in Youth and Family Studies, a MA in Education. She can be reached at;; or on her Facebook page Lisa Great.

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