11 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. 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? ~ James 4:11-12
We return to James 4 where the half brother of the Lord Jesus instructs us on the importance of the development of our faith in the God of Bible through our trials and temptations. The testing of our faith results in the acquisition of God's wisdom which enables us to increasingly see the diabolical nature of sin, and, it enables us to recognize the goodness of God. Essential to all of this is being led by God's indwelling Holy Spirit and learning from Him through His word. In today's text, James instructs us on the importance of extending the very same grace that God has extended to us to others.
In v.11 of today's text we read, "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."
When we are walking with the Lord, we will be humble because when we truly get to know God, we will see how wretched we truly are. And, when we walk with the Lord, we will treat others with the very same grace we have received from Him. The sign of authenticity of a true believer in Christ is humility and grace.
The word "slander" in James 4:11 literally means "to speak against." It can also mean "to gossip". It describes careless babble that runs people down. It is the defaming of a person who is not in the position to defend himself. This is the word from which we get our English word "backbiting." We bite them in the back, and they can’t even see what’s going on, and they’re not even able to defend themselves.
God, in the Old Testament, dealt with slander more than any other sin. Slander is very destructive to us because it ushers us down the road of the evil one who is out to destroy us. He tempts us most often with slander because it is easy for him to lead us away from the wisdom of God which is what we need to see the diabolical nature of wickedness.
In addition, James admonishes us to not "judge" which means to "condemn" someone. When we give safe haven to a critical attitude we reject God the most. This sin is so destructive and is so easy to do because we can always find someone to criticize, whether the criticism is true or not. James notes this is defiance against God and His Word! When we pass judgment on another believer, we are actively trying to usurp God.
It is no secret that God hates a lying tongue and He hates it when we sow discord among the brethren. Three of the seven things that God hates have to do with how we speak about other people. God hates the sins that destroy personal relationships. Throughout His word, God reminds us it is characteristic of wicked people to slander. In fact, God says slander is satanic.
In v.12 of today's text we read, "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?"
The sin of slander reveals our opinion of not only others, but also, of God. James 4:12 reveals there can only be one person who can sit in the judgment seat. And, when we slander, we put ourselves above God's law, and, subsequently we put ourselves above God.
The word "Lawgiver" means the one who puts the law in place. This is the only place in the New Testament this word is used. The judge is the one who applies the law. Satan sought the place of God when he decided to rebel against God. He removed himself from under the authority of God, and in so doing, he brought the wickedness of sin into being. When we seek to push God off His throne, we fall into the trap of the one who opposes God. All sin asserts that the sinner is above the law, and therefore strikes a murderous blow at God Himself. All sin says, in effect, I want God dead and I want to be in charge.
When we sin, we try to rise to the point of deposing God. And that’s why sin is so hateful to Him and should be to us. Sin taunts the power of God and even despises His grace and mercy. We despise Him and His benevolence by abusing the fact that He is forgiving. This is why we must resist judging and slandering others for it abuses God and it prevents us from having His wisdom.