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On personal judgment, sense and discernment


   Making decisions.  We all make them all the time.  Big 
   decisions and little decisions.  We make big decisions such as 
   who we will marry, what profession or occupation we are going 
   to pursue, where we will work, where we will live, etc.  And we 
   make small decisions: how we will respond to a problem that 
   has suddenly come up during our day, what we will fix for 
   dinner, what store we will go to to purchase an item that we 
   need or want, how we are going to respond to a question someone 
   has just asked us, whether we are going to study hard and do 
   our school lessons or not, etc.  Every day is filled with a 
   myriad of decisions.  And these decisions are often not simple.  
   They are often complex, involving many facets and 
   considerations, pros and cons.  Often some kind of risk or 
   danger is involved and one has to assess the degree and 
   likelihood of that danger in making the decision.  Whether one 
   is investing money in the stock market, choosing a spouse, 
   accepting a job, lending money to someone, or buying a used 
   car, there can be all kinds of hidden dangers. The right 
   decision is not always easy to know.  Decisions usually involve 
   calling on our store of knowledge and previous experience.  But 
   as complicated as the considerations may be, we usually quickly 
   assess all the many factors, make our decision, and go.  And 
   many of these decisions we make shape and make our life.  They 
   can make us or break us.  And underneath all these decisions we 
   make all the time is personal judgment.  Personal judgment, 
   good sense, discernment is what makes the world go around.  It 
   is behind everything.  It is behind all the important decisions 
   made in this world. It is the most important ability a person 
   can have.  By it we all live or die.  No other ability is so 
   important to a person as judgment and good sense.

   We all must make our own decisions.  No one can make them for 
   us.  Not even those who love us most and are closest to us.  
   Once we are adults, of age, we can do anything we wish.  We are 
   free to act as foolishly, as stupidly, as we wish.  And we all 
   live with the decisions that we ourselves have made.  The fool 
   lives with the consequences of his foolish decisions and the 
   wise man lives with the consequences of his wise decisions. 

   The quality of our life is directly related to the quality of 
   the decisions we make.  Our life at any moment is pretty much 
   the end result of the accumulating aggregate of all the 
   decisions we have made over our lifetime.

   Good decisions come from good judgment and good judgment is 
   closely connected with knowledge, understanding, a seeking and 
   inquiring mind, seriousness, and a habit of reflective thought.  
   Poor judgment is closely connected with ignorance, lack of 
   understanding, lack of reflective thought.

   Closely connected with personal judgment is another important 
   element: personal values, outlooks and attitudes.  The godly, 
   upright man of principle makes one kind of decisions.  The 
   ungodly, unprincipled man makes very different kinds of 
   decisions.  

   Generally speaking the man of good judgment is that upright man 
   ruled by sense, reason and conscience.  It is that man who does 
   those things tht he ought to do, those things that conscience 
   requires; that man who is attentive to that debt that we all 
   owe to ourselves, to do that which is right.  Not all men are 
   ruled by sense, reason and conscience.  The common mind is more 
   likely to be ruled by impulse, feeling and base appetite.  It 
   is the godly, reflective mind that is ruled by something 
   higher. 

   We see a person engage in some foolish action or conduct.  It 
   may be something he has done or something he has failed to do.  
   We ask ourselves why he did it.  Why did he do that?  His 
   action revealed an error in judgment.  What causes errors in 
   judgment?  What causes bad judgment?  Bad judgment is generally 
   caused by distortion of judgment by some distorting agent.  
   What do we mean?  What might this distorting agent be?  What 
   kind of agents are we talking about?  It could be one or more 
   of the following: laziness, cowardice, vanity, ego, pride, 
   anger, hatred, romantic infatuation, lust, envy, jealousy, 
   greed, etc.  And because these distorting agents tend to be 
   sins we can see that foolishness and sin are closely connected.  
   Many of these agents, such as laziness, cowardice, or vanity, 
   for example, tend to be deeply engrained habits that present 
   themselves as character traits.  A lazy person or a coward or a 
   vain person, for example, often makes poor judgments because of 
   the distorting influence of their character weaknesses.  Their 
   weaknesses rule, distort and overpower their judgment.  In the 
   case of a lazy person a large portion of the decisions and 
   actions that he makes every day may be strongly influenced or 
   decided by his laziness.  How he does things, what he does and 
   doesn't do, almost everything he does, may be determined by his 
   laziness.  Thus we see how a character defect can affect a 
   person's judgment and his life.

   Everyone does his own thinking; no one can do it for him.  
   Everyone manages his own life; everyone manages his own house.  
   I manage my house.  My wife manages her house. If one has 
   children each child manages his own house.  No one can manage 
   our houses for us.  We have to do it ourselves.  Some people 
   are conscientious, work hard, manage intelligently and 
   responsibly, do those things that they ought to do when they 
   ought to do them, listen to that voice within when it speaks, 
   and have clean, well-swept, orderly houses.  Other people are 
   sloppy, indifferent and careless, do nothing that they ought to 
   do, manage their houses stupidly and foolishly, and have dirty, 
   unkempt, slovenly, disorderly houses.


   Feb 2004

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