Dear Praying Partners,
Thank you for your patience in prayer as you seek God’s face for our prodigals and for revival among us. Waiting is always difficult. Waiting on God is no exception.
The words of the apostle James are very challenging, “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” (Jas 4:11-12).
There are at least three lessons to be learned from these words:
Firstly, when we criticize others we are essentially judging them. The NLT substitutes the “speaking evil” with the word “criticize.” Because of our fallen nature, this type of behavior comes very naturally to us. Speaking evil takes many forms like saying unkind things, gossiping, backbiting, and defaming character, just to mention a few. God takes it seriously and emphatically tells us not to do it. Such behavior damages others and hurts the heart of God.
Secondly, when we judge, we are sinning against God’s law and consequently sinning against God. These words of James do not mean that we should not lovingly rebuke or expose sin. This is necessary when preaching or sharing the gospel and when we are trying to draw a sister or brother back to Christ. What James is saying is that when we criticize someone (a brother or sister) we are criticizing and condemning the law of God. Because the law is summed up by first loving God and second loving your neighbor, you cannot love and judge at the same time. Therefore it is sin to judge.
Thirdly, when we judge we are claiming unwarranted authority and putting ourselves in the place of God. It is a solemn thing to usurp the authority that belongs to God alone. He is the lawgiver and the enforcer. We step outside our realm of authority to speak evil, to criticize or to judge another. A critical spirit reveals a heart full of pride and self-righteousness, and this God will certainly judge.
I hope you will bear with the word of exhortation and instead of judging, seek to build one another up in love.
Through His grace,
Bryan and Rachel
Photo credit: Benjamin Joyce