Gaining Insights From Proverbs For The Struggle With Judgmentalism

Keith KettenringChristian Living, The Uncommon Journey

I was going to conclude my thoughts on judgmentalism with yesterday’s post on 5 Practices That Help Defeat Judgmentalism. However, this morning’s reading from Proverbs 2 made me want to add one more positive post on discernment. Is that not what all of us really need? Judgmentalism needs to be replaced by the real thing – true discernment. 

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Here’s advice from Solomon: 

My child, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path. (Proverbs 2.1-9) 

Three Observations

  1. You need to be in the hot pursuit of discernment, wisdom, and understanding. You are to pursue these as valuable, hidden treasures, giving as much as you are able to the pursuit. Key elements to this pursuit are humility and teachability, listening attentively, and orderly discipline. The pursuit of wisdom is the aim and destination of wisdom. It is enough to seek after discernment. The results are not your concern. 
  2. What you are seeking comes from the Lord himself. Obviously Solomon is writing out of his own experience of being wise. He was granted wisdom from the LORD Himself. God is speaking through him. The rest of us are in a constant search for discernment as we commune with God, read scripture, experience life, engage in relationships, and struggle through difficult situations. God “speaks” in all of these. We are to be open and attentive to hear. 
  3. The righteous are privy to discernment. Is discernment available to just anyone? A person may be smart, have an elevated intellect, and be educated. But does that mean they automatically possess discernment? Is the person who studies the Bible, goes to church, behaves morally, prays, and does all the right things unquestionably qualified to claim insight and wisdom? It seems that discernment is available to one who is actually righteous in heart, mind, soul, and body. Theoretical or “positional” righteousness doesn’t work here. Discernment is given to the truly existing, undeniable, authentic righteous person. The rest of us are still searching and seeking after righteousness (Matthew 6.33). 


These two “proverbs” knock the socks off judgmentalism. The judgmental person is the “fool” in Proverbs described in these two ways: 

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his own opinions. (Proverbs 18.2)

If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. (Proverbs 18.13)


So, from one fool to another, yet in hot pursuit of discernment (I hope), I conclude this series. 

How have you been challenged by this series on judgmentalism? Share your thoughts below. 

Dr. K 

P.S. I recommend the book, Discovering the Way of Wisdom: Spirituality in the Wisdom Literature, Curtis & Brugaletta, as an insightful resource for your pursuit of discernment.