Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. James 4:11
This chapter in James starts with a question: “What causes fights and quarrels among you?” (James 4:1) It’s followed by a rhetorical question: “Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?”
The opposite of encouragement is slander. Our nature is to bad mouth other people, to point out their flaws for ill, and somehow to enlarge ourselves by belittling them.
There’s an old adage that asks, “How do you keep crabs in a basket? You don’t need a lid. You just need two crabs. One will make sure the other doesn’t climb out.” Boy, sometimes we can certainly be crabs. Unless we’re the star, unless we get the attention, unless we stand head and shoulders above the rest, we’re not satisfied.
James points out that slandering other believers doesn’t just damage our relationship, it damages the Faith. To put another believer down is to say that we believe God values us more than them, that our contribution is more significant than theirs, and that God’s plan for them is not as important as God’s plan for us. God doesn’t see things that way.
God has purposed for each of us to have part of His plan. He has gifted and equipped every believer to fulfill His calling on their lives. When we criticize other believers, we are actually slandering God’s work in their lives. If we love them and seek to help them, then we should talk to them and not just about them.
Who have you found yourself bad mouthing lately? Why do you feel superior to them? Why do you want to put them down? What do you think God thinks about this?
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