I’m back after a long and busy day that left me with no time (or, frankly, brains) to blog. Picking up where I left off with the final part of the Hippocrates quote, I’ll dive into what it is that makes judgement so difficult.
As my book-loving dragon friend commented on the last post, it’s not cool to be judgmental any more. Part of that, although it might startle the young people who look down their noses at ‘being judgy,’ is from the Biblical admonition to ‘judge not, lest you also be judged.’ This isn’t the same as having – and using! – good judgment, but it was also never meant to say that you shouldn’t judge people. You totally should. It’s just that you have to think it through… and it’s difficult.
You’ll see a lot of memes about judging – whether it’s my farm cat’s dubious look above, or many other examples, but the example in the Bible concerned a lot of self-righteous hypocrites judging someone’s sin, and it’s made very clear that that’s not something you should do. Because you also fall into the pitfalls of stuff you know you shouldn’t do. I talked the other day about sitting in judgment over criminals, and how committing a crime shows that they weren’t using good judgment. And that we can, and should, judge. I’m not going to trust someone I know is deliberately committing criminal acts. It shows that they lack judgement, and that they are willing to break faith with society. What will keep them from breaking faith with me? Judgement is what keeps us and our families safe.
Right now the big news is watching the path of a Hurricane, and wondering whether or not evacuation is necessary. While I can understand the concerns of ‘what if it isn’t a big deal? So much time, and money, and…’ I also know that this is where using judgement is critical, and as Hippocrates says, difficult. Make the wrong decision, and your family is in danger. make the wrong decision, and you waste time and money. I know how I’d err on the side of caution and protection in that case.
So how do we know if we’re using good judgement? I’ll go back to the Bible, here, since it’s a font of wisdom, no matter what your personal beliefs are. Proverbs tells us that ‘in the multitude of counsellors there is wisdom.’ Now, I’m not saying you should splay out every decision on facebook. There’s another verse about that kind of counsel (Prov 18:24, but also 13:20) because counsellors should be carefully chosen. You’re looking for people who you can trust, deeply, and who are experienced and wise. If you are seeking help about handling money, are you going to ask the guy who’s always broke and begging a twenty off you until the next payday? probably not.
Even if you are never called on to sit in a courtroom and render judgement on a fellow human being, cultivating good judgement in all parts of your life – from how you choose a job to work at, to the friends you hold onto, to the way you drive – is just common sense. Which as we all know, is more and more uncommon every day. Judge away. Just remember to live like you also are being judged. Because you are, even if it’s only by your cat and other animals!