Monday, June 14, 2010

Judging or Perceiving?

Fascinated by the Myers-Briggs Type IndicatorÒ (MBTIÒ) for many years, I was given cause recently to think about the advantages or disadvantages of judging versus perceiving—not that one is more superior to the other; they just explain the personality of the subject in focus, that’s all.

It seems to me that the MBTIÒ might tend to ‘categorise’ us in ways that are conclusive, in a field that cannot possibly ever be conclusive.

But, we can enjoy musing about it in any event.

All People Judge – Even Christians – the World Demands it of us

Even though we’re admonished not to judge people (Matthew 7:1-6) we cannot help make attributions regarding our circumstances. It just holds that this is the world we live in. The systems of the cosmos require us to make decisions; otherwise to exercise judgment.

Yet, it’s when we make moral judgments that we often get into a sticky mess.

Some situations create the cognitive and emotional ‘environment’ for some to judge whilst others will simply perceive—considering without deciding. The gate swings both ways, however, and we can easily find those ‘perceivers’ judging quite intuitively in different circumstances. This is just the way life seems to be.

No One is Polarised, Categorised

Like all the MBTIÒ descriptors—and most particularly in judging versus perceiving as profiled above—none of us is fully one or the other. No one is fully introvert or extrovert, intuitive or sensing, thinking or feeling.

We all share some traits of all the broad qualities of TypeÒ.

It is so refreshing that even though we can enjoy being ‘a type of person,’ and we have tools like the MBTIÒ to help us understand ourselves, none of the foregoing can pigeon-hole us, as we’re all unique human beings who determine our progress through life in a very situational way.

Showcasing ‘Judging’ as Both Strength and Weakness

I think most of all God forgives us in advance of our inappropriate and unwise judging, and certainly in the presence of appropriate recompense via repentance. He’s the one who placed us in this world after all. He also knows the information we have at hand—and often the lack thereof—when we make our judgments. He also knows the junk we carry.

He knows that the quality of our decisiveness is not always our best suit and that perceptiveness—as the ‘hero’ ingredient to the wisdom required for apt judging—is not always part of our armoury of insight.

We can only ever hope that as far as judging and perceiving are concerned that we’re seeking the wisdom of God first-hand (James 1:5) and that we’re able to sufficiently receive via our heavenward-tuned ‘listening skills.’

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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