Critical Thinking Topics: Judgment and Decision Making

Critical Thinking Topics:

Judgment and Decision Making

Discernment

Sometimes people feel that it is wrong to judge others in any way. While it is true that you should not condemn others or judge them unrighteously, you will need to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people throughout your life.

The Lord has given many commandments that you cannot keep without making judgments. For example, He has said: “Beware of false prophets. . . . Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16) and “Go ye out from among the wicked” (D&C 38:42). You need to make judgments of people in many of your important decisions, such as choosing friends, voting for government leaders, and choosing an eternal companion.

Judgment is an important use of your agency [free will] and requires great care, especially when you make judgments about other people. All your judgments must be guided by righteous standards.

Remember that only God, who knows each individual’s heart, can make final judgments of individuals. (Revelation 20:12; 3 Nephi 27:14; D&C 137:9)

How to Make Righteous Judgments

Your righteous judgments about others can provide needed guidance for them and, in some cases, protection for you and your family. Approach any such judgment with care and compassion.

As much as you can, judge people’s situations rather than judging the people themselves. Whenever possible, refrain from making judgments until you have an adequate knowledge of the facts. Always be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, who can guide your decisions. True to the Faith, 90-91

How Do We “Judge Righteous Judgment”?

By Tyler J. Griffin

Associate Professor of Ancient Scripture, Brigham Young University

Jesus is not telling us never to judge. He is commanding us to make sure the judgments we make are righteous.

Have you ever been in a situation where somebody tried to correct another person by saying, “Judge not, that ye be not judged”? (Matthew 7:1). Few of Jesus’s teachings are more widely known than this one. Unfortunately, this phrase is not always correctly understood or applied. Our ability to benefit from this command will increase as we examine how Jesus Christ used it in His teachings and how His prophets have reiterated it through time.

In the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 7, we read, “Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged; but judge righteous judgment” (Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 7:2 [in Matthew 7:1, footnote a]).

According to Joseph Smith’s addition to this passage in Matthew, Jesus is not telling us never to judge. He is commanding us to make sure the judgments we make are righteous.

Our Judgments of People

Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “God cares a lot more about who we are and who we are becoming than about who we once were.”5

Our own sins and lack of perfect understanding disqualify us from being able to pass final judgments on anyone, including ourselves. We must, however, make constant intermediate judgments. We are to righteously judge actions, not condemn people.

 

Related post:

Critical Thinking Definition: Discernment and Judgment

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Critical Thinking Definition: Discernment and Judgment

Critical Thinking Definition: Discernment and Judgment

Critical-thinking

keyWho says freedom is morally superior to bondage? And why is it wrong to hurt someone else? Who says? To injure or hurt someone else goes against biblical teaching. That is where the idea of it being wrong to hurt someone comes from in the first place. The Golden Rule was given to us by Jesus Christ. ~Tim Wildmon

“You have no right to judge me!” Really?

Tim Wildmon, American Family Association President

discernment-christianDo you know the favorite Bible verse of those who don’t believe in the Bible’s authority? Think about it. It’s not hard. The favorite Bible verse of those who do not believe in the Bible is: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Now these folks cannot tell you where this verse is in the Bible, because they don’t read it. But they have heard it is in the Scriptures somewhere, so if they don’t like something you say when you pronounce something right or wrong, they whip out Matthew 7:1, and that is supposed to be the end of the discussion.

One of the problems is, if you tell others they have no right to judge someone else, you have thereby judged them for judging. You have done precisely what you claim to be against – judging. That makes you a hypocrite.

But that then begs the question – why is it wrong to be a hypocrite? Who made that judgment? We just assume that to be a true statement, which is a presupposition. But presuppositions need a foundation to be authoritative. For example, the teachings of Jesus Christ are authoritative for those who believe He is the Son of God.

Each one of us has a worldview on which we base our lives, presuppositions we operate under and make decisions on. Because of our country’s Christian heritage, most Americans, either consciously or subconsciously, derive their presuppositions about life and morality from the Bible.

Ask an average man on the street if lying is right or wrong behavior, and he is going to tell you it’s wrong. Ask him who decided lying was wrong, and he will either say, “It just is” or “My parents taught me it was wrong” or “The Bible says so.” However, “It just is,” is not an answer to the question; it is an opinion. Neither is “My parents taught me.” Parents are an authority figure, but they do not define morality in any absolute way because they are humans whose opinions are subject to change. “The Bible says so,” is a legitimate answer because if you believe the Bible is God’s Word, then you want to obey God so you don’t fall into disfavor with a supreme being who controls your eternal destiny.

bible1Many Americans will say they subscribe to the idea that a person should be free to do whatever he wishes “as long as it does not hurt anyone else.” This view is based on the presupposition that freedom is good, and it is morally wrong to hurt someone else. Who made these rules? Who says freedom is morally superior to bondage? And why is it wrong to hurt someone else? Who says? To injure or hurt someone else goes against biblical teaching. That is where the idea of it being wrong to hurt someone comes from in the first place. The Golden Rule was given to us by Jesus Christ. 

Some societies use an atheistic state government as the agent for defining what is right or wrong behavior. It’s called totalitarianism for a reason. In Muslim countries, Islamic law and teaching dominate the people’s behavior. Islam defines good and evil, wrong and right. Most European countries have what’s left of their Christian heritage to guide them, although the continent today is mostly secular with Islam rising as a possible replacement to secularism in the coming decades.   

It is a healthy exercise to ask ourselves where we get the moral values that govern our lives. Is it each person for himself, or do we acknowledge a higher power with authority to declare such? God calls on all men to submit to His will and authority. Let us pray that America will become a God-fearing people again. In Matthew 10:28 Jesus declared, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both body and soul in hell.”

http://www.afajournal.org/recent-issues/2015/june/you-have-no-right-to-judge-me-really/

Critical Thinking: Biblical History, Moral Compass, Why the Bible Matters