Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Good judgment: It may not be what you think

The first to plead his case seems right
Till the other party examines him. (Proverbs 18:17)
In some ways, we are each of us like judges. We reach decisions on important matters many times in our lives. We constantly make "judgments" about viewpoints, attitudes, and questions that come before us. But how often do we take our judgments seriously? Do we consider what is involved in "good judgment"? There is a tendency to speak as if good judgment is a matter of having intelligence -- which doesn't hurt -- or having good intuition, which doesn't hurt either. But neither of these is actually good judgment, or any substitute for good judgment. Good judgment involves having a good command of the facts and handling them with fairness. Good judgment follows a procedure:
  1. hear each side;
  2. let each view question the other;
  3. don't decide before the facts are in;
  4. don't show favoritism;
  5. don't rush the outcome but be patient with the procedure.
This is good judgment.

I can't help but wondering: in our debates amongst ourselves as Christians, in our dealings with those of other views, how often do we show good judgment?
Test everything; hold on to that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

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