The word “judgement”—with or without the “e”—has gained a reputation as an ugly term, unfairly I think. The problem is it carries a great deal of baggage. Simply put, a judgement is a reasoned decision or opinion; it is a neutral term that does not delineate whether the opinion is supportive or the decision unfavorable.
Therein lies the problem. Like everyone else, I have opinions. To arrive at an opinion, I must use what I hope is sound judgement. I’m certainly willing to listen to more information that might lead to a new conclusion, but that’s using judgement again. Judgement is required in order to decide between two conflicting ideas.
Tempers rise when the term “judgement” is taken to mean “condemnation” instead of “discernment.” The term applies comfortably to either, but obviously not universally; and lately there is an automatic assumption to the negative. I believe judgement is most often a good thing. Of ten definitions in Encarta, only one is negative; but some who are eager to find offense will pounce every time on that word and cry “Unfair!” We are becoming a nation of professional victims, cringing at the supposed sting of opinion. We must use our discernment and judge for ourselves whether offense is merited. Disagreement is not a cause for alarm; it is a call for reasoned and respectful discussion.