Posted by: Barbara Wilbur for ElysJoy Church | January 12, 2012

Judgment James 4:11

JudgementJudgment.  When you hear the word does it convey positive or negative feelings?  Judgment depending on the direction it is pointed can leave even a gal with a heart for Jesus shaking in her leather boots.  We often think of judgment as a doling out of punishment.  We read about someone in their early twenties arrested for drugs during a traffic stop and think, “serves them right”.  Many of us don’t consider, how they got to that point, or if what we heard is even true.  I know I often rush to judgement (I wish I didn’t and try not to but..) and if you are honest with yourself, occasionally you may too.

Think about how often we assess someone by their physical appearance or ability to think on their feet or even their knowledge of scripture.  Isn’t that judging?  James 4:11 tells us: “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.”  While James is speaking of fellow Christians, his point holds true to all.  He clarifies this in verse 12 “ 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?”  By telling us that we are not to judge or neighbor he means all people.

The word “slander” in James 4:11 is the Greek word katalaleo, and the definition here is closer to criticize or accuse or speaking poorly of someone than we typically think of slander.  The AMG Key Word Study Bible even goes as far to say it is best translated “to bad mouth”.  Now that is something we understand a little better.  Yikes, that hits closer to home.

Romans 2:1 says “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”  What?  I do the same things that those folks on the news do?  You bet I do.  Sin is sin to God.  God alone is perfect.  I can hardly type as I take remove the plank from my eye! (Paraphrase Luke 6:41)  As I type, all my sin comes flooding back into my memory.  I am so glad Jesus died to take that away and make me clean!

I pray today that God gives me the same mercy he gives all who sin, and that he gives me a spirit of wisdom and truth and takes away all my critical thoughts that may cause strife.  Take the challenge, spend the next 24 hours, living without bad mouthing or criticizing anyone.  I dare you; it is harder than you think!

Photo credit:  motifake.com

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