Good Judgment

In today’s culture, the title “Good Judgment” is considered an oxymoron. The words “good” and “judgment” cannot be used in the same context—which, of course, is ridiculous. To have the opinion that good judgment is an oxymoron is a judgment!

What has become popular is the idea of “How dare you say I am wrong!” The tirade against judgment is actually saying, “I want to be able to do whatever I choose, and you have no right to have any opinion about my choices.”

There is natural law and there is spiritual law. Gravity is gravity. A person can swear off any belief in gravity, and if he jumps off a very tall building, there still will be consequences. A person can claim he is not walking in bitterness and believe that others should be friendly to him. But bitterness is bitterness. What you give out matters in relationship.

Good judgment has to have some reasonable idea of potential outcomes. To be blind to or to deny probable or even fixed outcomes is not good judgment.

The way most people approach romantic love may be the greatest single violator of the principles of good judgment. Two highly selfish people cannot have a quality relationship. Yet, somehow we believe that if we meet the right person, somehow it will override the outcomes of selfishness. It won’t. Spiritual law wins.

Over and over again, I see people who have met in a rehabilitation facility try to make a go of a relationship. It never works. Unhealthy cannot date and marry unhealthy and expect good outcomes. If you want a good relationship, you have to become a better person—and you have to be connecting with someone who is practicing good relationship principles.

I spent a great amount of time reaching out to an addict who told me over and over again just how much he “loved” his children. He would do “anything” for his children. That is, he would do anything except quit using drugs. One day, to try to get through to him, I told him, “Every time you stick a needle in your arms you are hating your children!” He was so angry at me. How dare I suggest that he didn’t love his children!

But what is love? Is something truly love if it produces awful outcomes? If this man really wanted to “love” his children, he needed to get off of drugs. He needed to exchange some of his unhealthy patterns of manipulation for an approach that would train his children in healthy ways. He would cater to his children to get positive feedback and then revel in the response he was getting. He called that love. The one he was loving was himself.

Good judgment accurately sees spiritual law in a way that it can predict outcomes and thus make good choices. Almost 100% of the time, when I tell addicts who are not yet capable of healthy relationship that they should not be dating, they get angry at me. They repeat the tag line of the culture of “how dare you judge me.” Not ready is not ready. Over and over again, I have seen the relationship pain as the romantic pursuit blows up. Relationship has little or no chance unless it is healthy person with healthy person.

Good judgment generally requires good understanding—although some people seem to have good instincts of judgment. Because so much of what we do happens at a subconscious level, some people can appear to have a good thought flow and continually make bad judgments. And some can seemingly understand nothing and make consistently good judgments. The best way I know to get to good judgment is actually “healthy.” We tend to think and to judge according to the consistent patterns of our lives. Ego dominates every aspect of what we do and think. Because of that, the best way to develop good judgment is to live unselfish and healthy.

As a culture, we have coddled selfishness with the result that we now hate “judgment.” The current blaspheming of “judgment” is nothing more than a demand that the culture approve its selfish lifestyle. Good judgment cannot approve selfishness. Good judgment knows the negative outcomes of selfishness. We are seeing those negative outcomes at every level of society today because we have approved what is evil.

Jesus said, “Judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24b, NKJV). In our “judgment free” society, I doubt that you have heard that verse quoted to you, but it is true. All good outcomes start with good judgment. There is a negative form of judgment which chooses to look down on others instead of coming along side to make the situation better. I’m not condoning the negative form of judgment, but without good judgment, we will continue in a downward spiral.

Are you practicing good judgment today?

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