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Good Judgment

October 22, 1993



ARE you pleased with all the decisions you have made? If you're like me, the answer is sometimes yes, sometimes no. Sound judgment is essential to every aspect of daily living. Good sense and wisdom are necessary in making good choices.

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It may seem as though some people have better judgment than others, and we may feel that poor judgment on the part of ourselves or others has caused problems. It's important to recognize, however, that we possess the ability to express good judgment. The true nature of man is wholly spiritual and intelligent as God's likeness, not limited and unwise as mortals often appear. Since omniscience is a quality of God, and man is created in His image to express His qualities, wise discernment and intelligence are inherent in our spiritual nature. This fact, acknowledged and appreciated, unlocks the possibilities of better exercising this natural ability.

Christianity teaches that daily prayer, quieting the material senses and listening for God's guidance in thought, is a key element in expressing good judgment. The Bible clearly articulates the benefits of such prayer and trust--protection, abundance, fulfillment and health, to name a few. We can be spared danger-- entering into unproductive relationships, pursuing unsuitable careers, sinking into debt, or mistreating our bodies--by cherishing the sound judgment and spiritual discernment daily prayer brings to light. We can claim this promise of God's care and guidance found in Proverbs: ``He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee'' (2:8-11).

A young couple with small children proved the value of relying on the good judgment that results from trusting God's guidance. As students of Christian Science, they saw good judgment as the natural outgrowth of spiritual sense. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, describes spiritual sense in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures in these words: ``Spiritual sense is the discernment of spiritual good'' (p. 505). The couple understood that spiritual sense looks past ma-terial objects and circumstances to the substantial ideas they represent.

This family was in the process of relocating. While they had limited financial resources at their command, they filled their thoughts with the spiritual qualities they knew were both needed and desirable in their new home. They exercised the good judgment of not being distracted by the physical appearance of the houses they were shown but sought to discern how each house would lend itself to the embodiment of those spiritual qualities. In the end, they felt led to buy a house which, although sound, was dreadful-looking inside and out. The spacious yards were hopelessly overgrown. There would be so much to do to make it even livable ... the undiscerning eye might have turned away in disgust! And yet this couple felt that the potential for expressing all the qualities they were seeking was there.

When they moved their little family into the house, they were tempted to be overwhelmed with the enormity of the tasks ahead and the limi-tations of their resources to effect the improvements. But they were confident that spiritual sense had enabled them to glimpse the possibil-ities and that their judgment had been sound. They possessed that quiet confidence of knowing their prayers had been answered.

Little did they imagine what great good the next seventeen years in that house held in store. Many of the neighbors proved to be dear and lovely people who became true friends. In the midst of a dramatically changing urban community they found their neighborhood to be an oasis of stability, safety, value, and beauty. With patience and years of hard work they landscaped, remodeled, and expanded the house and gardens into a gracious and lovely home where they raised their family (which also grew!) in an environment they all came to treasure. Judging from material evidences alone, they could never have known what an unusual neighborhood they were buying into nor the potential of the property itself. Relying on prayer and the resulting good judgment, they experienced the very qualities of home they had cherished in thought.

Good judgment is the natural exercise of right thinking, an expression of our God-given spiritual nature as His intelligent children. Let's embrace and practice this quality of inspired thought. We will find ourselves thereby kept safe as we make wise choices that bring progress. Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount emphasizes the good that comes when we place our confidence in God's guidance and care.

BIBLE VERSE

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold:

sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them

there is great reward.

Psalms 19:9-11