Bible Reading: James 4.11-12
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12
James repeatedly addresses the subject of the tongue because the early Jewish church needed that counsel, just as we do today. In today’s reading we transition from a charge to humility in verse 10 to a warning against a sign of pride, which is slander within the church.
Slander is a legal term which means to lie with the intent of harming one’s reputation and name. It is a serious crime in the eyes of the law. It is also a sin, as we learn in Proverbs 6 that God hates “a lying tongue”, “a false witness who pours out lies” and “one who stirs up conflict in the community.”
James is speaking to a heart which seeks to usurp Jesus’ sovereignty - a heart intent on exercising authority over others out of pride. Such an attitude is not consistent with the Royal Law that Jesus laid out for us - “love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).
Today, commit to meditate on the great mercy you received at the cross before you find fault in and speak out against others.
Weekly Memory Verse: John 16.24