Wednesday, September 21, 2011


For my purposes I will be using the following definitions of judgment:

"2. the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion: a man of sound judgment.
4. the forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion, as from circumstances presented to the mind: Our judgment as to the cause of his failure must rest on the evidence.
5. the opinion formed: He regretted his hasty judgment."

I was taught that having good judgment was a positive thing. Obviously, having bad judgment is another problem entirely. But to have good judgment meant that I was being discerning in my choices of people, places and things.

If there is a person, group or situation that I choose not to participate in/with because I feel that they bring too much negativity to my life or damage to my community, that is being of sound judgment.

A few years ago I started 'losing' friends. My choice, I realized there were people in my life who only called or showed up when they wanted something. That whenever they were around they were full of negativity and drama. One friend, we've been friends since early sobriety, made some very harsh ugly comments about a friend who is homosexual. I was stunned at the depth of her close minded hatred and hypocrisy. We've not spoken since that day. I told her that until she could apologize and rethink her attitude that I could not have a person like her in my life.

Another friend behaved in such a way as to cause hurt and emotional trauma to several friends, she felt that she was entirely righteous in her behavior. It was heart wrenching to have to accept that I could not participate nor condone her behavior. Worse, I also lost a few other friends because I refused to say what she had done and said was "okay".

Martin Niemöller is the man responsible for the writing:

"First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew."

There are several other lines to this, but the piece that has always stuck me is, I did not speak out because I was not ____ here is where you can fill in the blank.

I recognize that I am not responsible for what my friends and acquaintances do, but what does it say about me if I stand by silent when they are hurting people, lying, cheating, or whatever it is they've done? What does it say about what kind of judgment I have when I choose to do nothing when I see a wrong being committed?

If I see a stranger hurting someone I try to stop it, or find someone who can. If I see friend hurting another friend shouldn't I do the same? And if I do not, what does that say about me?

"If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything."

What will it take for our personal ethics to say what this person is doing or saying is wrong, and what does it say about me that I not only do nothing, say nothing, but continue to call them 'friend'? Where is the line? What does it take for us to draw it?

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