We use our judgment every day to determine what to do and what to say. We use judgment to decide what others mean, and to evaluate their behavior.
And so this word can have both positive and negative implications.
Just recently, I felt the negative, when someone made a judgment about my actions, to work out what I “really” meant. However, their judgment about me was in error – I did not have any such idea as they had assumed I did.
Fortunately this came to light very soon, and I was able to make a correcting statement; however, it was disquieting to think that what seemed to me to be a general discussion about possibilities was looked on by someone else as a decision.
And this is the trouble with judgment – it can so often be tainted by outside influences, assumptions, and just bad communication.
And yet we need to make judgments all the time, just to negotiate our lives.
Without making judgments about the speeds and intentions of vehicles, we could not get across the street.
Without making judgments about how good a building firm is, we would never get a house built.
Without making judgments about a person’s character, we would never know who it is safe to entrust our secrets with.
And sometimes these judgments are wrong. This may cause as harm – we may be in a car accident, have our house fall down, or have out private life talked about by strangers.
And so the best we can do is to learn.
Learn where it is safe to cross the road; which builders are reliable; which friends we can trust to keep a confidence.
This seems to suggest that the way to good judgment is through having bad judgment to start with. And that may not be far from the mark.
There may be some who are blessed with good judgment from their early lifetime onwards, but for most of us, this is not the case.
If we are lucky, our judgment will grow as we are challenged and hurt – and succeed anyway.