Today’s passage deals with judging and slandering other Christians.
Jam. 4:11-12 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. (12) There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
Speak Not Evil
Apparently, one of the sins that James’ readers need to repent of was slander. He commands them not to speak evil of one another. This is one of many Bible passages that command us not to speak evil of each other.
Psa. 34:12-13 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? (13) Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
Eph. 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Tit. 3:1-2 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, (2) To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
1Pe. 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
To speak evil of your brother, you first have to think evil of your brother. That involves judging him. Once again, we find many Bible passages that condemn this practice:
Mat. 7:1-3 Judge not, that ye be not judged. (2) For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (3) And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Rom. 2:1-2 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. (2) But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
God does not want us to be critical and faultfinding. He doesn’t want us to seek out and be glad when we discover other people’s flaws. Let’s be clear, though, that God does expect us to deal with obvious sin in the Body of Christ:
Luk. 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
Mat. 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
1Co. 5:9-13 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: (10) Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. (11) But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. (12) For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? (13) But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
Judgeth the Law
When you slander your brother, you’re speaking evil of and judging the Law. “How is that,” you ask. Because God commanded you not to slander, not to gossip, and when you do, you’re saying you are above the law. In effect, you’re saying God’s Law is wrong and you are right. Your attitude and actions make you a judge of a law and a lawbreaker at the same time.
Rom. 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
Obviously, you and I don’t have the right to sit in judgment of God’s Law. He’s alone is the Lawgiver – we are not. We aren’t the lawgiver, or God’s sheriff, or the judge.
Who Art Thou?
How Are You Doing?
Read James 4:13-14. Do you plan the future as if you were in control of it?