Neglected Biblical Truths
Do Not Speak Evil – Part II
Scripture Reading: James 4:1-12
Key Verse: James 4:11 NLT
Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you.
The most important instructions the Bible repeats more than once! Certainly, this is true with the instructions about speaking evil against another believer.
James repeats the instructions for speaking about fellow believers:
Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door! (James 5:9 NLT)
At one time or another, most of us have found ourselves grumbling about another believer who is saying something or doing something that we disagree with. These are tough instructions to practice faithfully.
We have all heard the secular version about this: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything”.
How many believers struggle to put these words into practice?
James 5:9 NLT increases the importance of these instructions by adding that God will judge us if we continue to grumble about another believer. James also reminds us that ”the Judge is standing at the door”! In other words, the Judge (God Himself) is watching and listening to our conversations. When we face temptation to criticize another person and could visualize God standing right beside us, would we say something negative about another person?
May God help all of us to take these instructions seriously and make every effort to stop our negative talk about other believers.
These scriptures speak of believers, but not speaking evil about anyone would be in keeping with the spirit of these instructions. Let’s determine to be positive people, looking for the good in everyone and giving grace to those we disagree with, even when they gossip against us.
I have received my share of criticism over 40-plus years of pastoring. I have found that God can fight my battles for me if I simply keep quiet and allow Him to work. I have had to remind myself on several occasions that God knows the truth about my actions and that is good enough!
If our churches are ever going to be powerful forces in our communities, the people of the church must be united and disciplined about how they talk about one another.
Let’s stop fighting verbal battles with others and allow God to work in our lives!
Father, help me be a positive force in my church. In Jesus’s Name, amen.