Step Towards Transformation
James 4:11-12 (NKJV)
11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?
So far, we have examined
Today we will learn on How To Stop Judging .
James 4:11..Do not speak evil of one another, brethren.
What comes to mind when you think of someone speaking evil against another?
Psalm 50:20 … You sit and SPEAK AGAINST YOUR BROTHER; You slander your own mother’s son.
1 Timothy 5:13 … And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, SAYING THINGS WHICH THEY OUGHT NOT.
Proverbs 18:8 … THE WORDS OF A TALEBEARER are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body.
Proverbs 11:13 …A TALEBEARER REVEALS SECRETS, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.
It’s untrue statement which damages someone’s character. Slander is an injury which it is hard to undo even when one might desire to do so
Illustration: Two friends were inseparable. One day one of them heard a story about his friend, believed it without making enquiries as to its truth, and passed it on. As it went, it grew. His friend heard of it, and their friendship was broken. The man thus maligned was taken seriously ill and lay on his deathbed. His friend who had spread the slander, heard of his illness and came to see him, confess his wrong, and ask his forgiveness, which was readily given by the dying man.
`Now,’ said the dying man, ‘I want you to do something for me. Take my feather pillow and scatter the feathers in the garden.’ Though he thought it a strange request, the visitor carried it out and returned to his friend’s bedside. ‘Now’, said the dying man, `go and gather the feathers up again.’ That is impossible,’ said the other. ‘Just so,’ said the wronged man, ‘I frankly and willingly forgive you for scattering those stories about me, but even my forgiveness cannot revoke the evil that has been done. Slanderous stories scattered abroad cannot be recalled.’ Words are easily dropped; but, no matter how hard you try, you never can get them back again.”
Now what I want us to understand right from the beginning is that this a heart issue — slanderous speech is indicative of a deeper issue. Jesus Said In Matthew 12:34, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” What you speak in your mouth indicates your heart, a slanderous tongue, a habitually speaking evil of other people betrays an unchanged heart. Jesus once said, Matthew 15:19… “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander”
Slander is viewed by Jesus as a serious sin. According to Jesus, the tongue is simply a neutral messenger boy that carries the words from the heart. It is the bucket that goes down to the well, dips into what is there and then dumps out of the mouth what it picks up.
Illustration: If I kept bringing polluted water out of a well every time I sent a bucket down, it wouldn’t be logical to respond to that by saying, “Well I guess I better get a different bucket.” That would be madness, right? You have to treat the water that’s in the well if you want to get something healthy out of it. Slander is not just a sin of the tongue, but a sin that is deep in our hearts. A person who continually speaks evil against another person is really not dealing with a tongue issue, they’re dealing with a heart issue.
So a pure heart and a renewed mind and the love of God will shut this sin off.
Illustration: A practicing lawyer loved to attack his opponents through scathing letters printed in newspapers. In 1842, he ridiculed the wrong man. James Shields did not take kindly to the anonymous writer who ridiculed him in the Springfield Journal. Mr. Shields tracked down the attorney who had publicly embarrassed him and challenged him to a fight. The man was a writer, not a fighter, but he could not get out of the fight without losing his honor. He was given the choice of weapons and chose swords in hopes of using his long arms to his advantage. He trained with a West Point graduate as he prepared to fight to the death. On the appointed day he met Mr. Shields on a sandbar in the Mississippi River. At the last minute their seconds intervened and convinced the men to stop the fight. The lawyer returned to his practice as a changed man. Never again did he openly criticize anyone. In fact, years later when he heard his wife criticize the southern people of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln said, “Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.”
Do you have a critical spirit? Lincoln did, but he changed. How to Win Friends and influence People,
Illustration: A lady known for gossiping came to church altar at the end of the service. she spoke to the pastor, “pastor , I would like to place my tongue on the altar”the pastor replied, “I would like to help you, but the altar is only 4feet long”
Matthew 7:1-5 ….1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Beware of slandering others. This means you are always judging others and Jesus said clearly that’s bad. Whatever you dish out is what you’ll receive, only it may be a worse judgment.
Why You and I Should Not Judge Others
The Bible gives us three reasons why we should not judge one another.
James 4:11a …“Do not say evil against one another, my brothers. He who says evil against his brother …..
Notice how many times the word brother or a form of brother is used in this verse. Three times! Why? Because we should not speak evil of another Christian – because
Proverbs 25:18 .. A man who bears false witness against his neighbour Is like a club, a sword, and a sharp arrow.
Gossipers Are Devil’s Postmen: We are family – and family should not speak evil against one another. It’s not a Christian’s job to go around speaking evil of other Christians – in fact it is the devil’s business to speak against God and His family. The devil is the Father of Lies and he is the one who loves to speak evil of God’s children. The devil loves to “bad talk” God and His family. When we speak evil against a fellow Christian – we’re doing the devils work. That’s what the devil’s job description is.
In the book of Revelation [Rev 12:10] the Bible says, the devil is the “accuser of the brothers”. It is unchristian to judge other Christians. That is not what we should be doing.
The second reason we Should Not Speak Evil Against One Another Is:
Do you remember what Jesus said the Greatest Commandment was?
Matthew 22:37-39 …’You Shall Love The Lord Your God With All Your Heart, And With All Your Soul, And With All Your Mind.’ “This Is The Great And Foremost Commandment. The Second Is Like It, ’You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself.’
When we judge one another we are breaking God’s commandment – we are breaking God’s law. Look at what James tells us in verse eleven:
James 4:11b (NKJV) ..“He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, ….YOU ARE NOT A DOER OF THE LAW but a judge.”
Proverbs 16:28 b…And a whisperer separates the best of friends.
James tells us that when we speak evil of one another we are breaking God’s law and disobeying His commandment. By speaking evil against them – we are not loving our brothers and sister in Christ. We have become their judge – not their friend. To judge one another is unloving and unchristian – and:
James 4:12a (NKJV).. “There is one Lawgiver.” – And guess what? You’re not Him!
The word “lawgiver” is used six times in the Old Testament and only one time in the New Testament. The six times it is used in the Old Testament – refers only to God. The same is true here – in the book of James.
Only God has a right to judge. It’s part of God’s job description. It’s not in your job description to judge other Christians. It’s not your job to judge other people. God has not created you to go around judging everybody you meet. He has not commissioned you to talk to everybody about everybody else. He has not made you to be a bigmouth.
Illustration: When you break the law on a regular basis, what are you saying? You’re saying that the law doesn’t pertain to you, right? For example, in some churches there are people who habitually break the speed limit. When you break the speed limit on a regular basis, what are you doing? You are looking at a law that says 55mph and saying “Well that’s a good law for some people, but not necessarily for me. I’ve got driving skills that some other people don’t have.” “It’s a good law for grandma and the new driver, but I don’t need those kind of restrictions on my life.” You’re not submitting to the law — you’re sitting in judgment over it. You’re not placing yourself under its authority — you are establishing yourself as an authority that is higher than the authority of the law.
One of the greatest mistakes all of us have – is to generalize people by just one mistake that they make. If they make a mistake we tend to slander their whole character. If a guy makes a foolish mistake – we consider him a fool. But this is not necessarily the truth. Maybe he is a good person who has just made one foolish mistake. Maybe he has just slipped and fallen in one time. Maybe he has just made a mistake.
How many of you have heard: “You can’t judge a book by the cover.” The same is true of people.
Illustration: How often do we make judgments as though we were God when we have little or no understanding of people’s motives or circumstances. A grocery store clerk once wrote to Ann Landers to complain about the people buying luxury food items with food stamps. She said these people were lazy and wasteful. In a later column, Landers printed the response of a woman who wrote in answer to the judgmental grocery clerk. “I’m the woman who bought the $17 cake and paid for it with food stamps. I thought the check-out woman in the store would burn a hole through me with her eyes. What she didn’t know is the cake was for my little girl’s birthday. It will be her last. She has bone cancer and will probably be gone within six to eight months.” Beloved, we need to be careful about developing a harsh and judgmental spirit. We have no right to appoint ourselves as judges over others. We cannot see the hearts of others.
Look beyond the mistake – look at the person’s real character – and you may be surprised what you find. Stop judging others – it’s unchristian – it’s unloving – it’s unjustified.
Illustration; A lady staying on the ground floor invited several friends to a mushroom dinner. The maid opened the can and found some scum in the can. Since guests were expected any moment, the owner lady suggested that the dog be given a little of the mushroom to see if he eats then it probably may be good to serve. The dog licked and begged for some more. Now dinner was cooked with the mushrooms in the container and served to the guests. After the main course, the servant girl came to the dinning table. Her face looked shocked. She whispered in her owner’s ears,”madam, the dog is dead” before she could complete her statement, the owner lady sent all the guests to the hospital and had all their stomachs pumped out empty. When the lady apologised and returned home. She asked the maid about the dog.. the maid replied, “outside the compound behind where a car knocked him down”
The lesson of this story is this, sometimes we jump to conclusions without having all the facts and true facts.
That brings us to: How To Stop Judging Others
Let me give you three thoughts about how to stop judging others:
The Bible tells us – that by the standards we set for others – we will be judged. If we are to be judged by the same standards that WE judge others – we should stop judging people so harshly. Why do I say that we will be judged by the same standards that we judge others?
Matthew 6:12 …’And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
Whenever you pray the Lord’s Prayer you are asking God to forgive you – in the same way that you forgive others.
Matthew 7:1-2 …“Do not judge lest you be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”
Since we will be judged – in same way that we judge others – many of us are in trouble! If you want to break the habit of talking bad about people – just remember that what you dish out is what you are going to get in return. It is the principle that you will reap what you sow.
Romans 14:12-13 … “Each one of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this–not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.”
You are not accountable to me in the ultimate sense of your life. But – remember you are accountable to God. When all is said and done – I am not accountable to you and you are not accountable to me. Both of us are accountable to God who is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the ultimate judge. He is the One that all of us will bow our knees before. You and I will be accountable for every action and every word that we have ever spoken – every good word and every bad word. Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew chapter twelve:
Matthew 12:36-37 …”And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned
How is God going to judge? He is going to judge honestly, fairly, and truthfully. His judgment will not be based on rumours, or gossip – it will be based on hard cold facts. He will judge impartially. He will judge with justice.
James 2:13 …Judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.” God is merciful. He gives forgiveness where there should be condemnation. Shouldn’t we act the same way?
Illustration: Do you remember the story that Jesus told in Matthew18:21-35? It goes something like this: A man owed 50,000 to his boss. His boss was kind enough to forgive him of the debt. The man then went out and found a guy who owed him 500. He strangled the guy because he wouldn’t pay up. When the boss heard the news – He went to man who had owed him 50,000 and said, “Who do you think you are? I forgave you a huge amount. This other fellow only owed you a little bit – yet you would not forgive him.
What’s up with that? Is that how you play the game? Don’t give out what you so richly have received?
Matthew18:33-35…33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
Remember you will be forgiven in the same manner you forgive. God has shown us mercy. God has shown us love. God has shown us forgiveness.
How should we treat those who are around us? How should be behave?
Illustration: “I resolve to speak ill of no man whatever, not even in a matter of truth; but rather by some means excuse the faults I hear charged upon others, and upon proper occasions speak all the good I know of everybody.” – Benjamin Franklin
I knew a woman once who took a temporary job working for a large corporation. She determined that, although the job was simply answering phones in a small branch of the company and far below her capabilities, she would do it to the best of her ability. Every day in the course of her new job, the woman talked with the employees at other locations and she felt the negativity in their voice as they spoke of her new employer. Knowing he was not the monster they thought he was, she decided as she drove home one evening there was something she could do to help improve their opinion of him.
Beginning the very next morning, she began to pay attention to every comment he made. Each time she heard him complement one of his employees, she would later call and tell them what she had heard. They were at first surprised and then thrilled to discover his high regard for them. For months she continued her campaign, passing along every positive comment she heard and keeping to herself the occasional negative one.
Soon, the area of the corporation the man managed began showing drastic improvement. Profits were rising, higher ups were noticing and the man implemented an employee reward program that recognized the highest achievers and looked for things to praise in up and comers. It wasn’t long before the employees were wild about their boss. The negative atmosphere was transforming to one that was positive and uplifting.
Every time we hear something about someone we have a choice to make. We can pass along the comment to others or not. If the comment is negative, we really aren’t doing anyone else or ourselves any favours by repeating it. It doesn’t really matter if it’s true or false; a good result is never achieved by talking bad about someone else. It may create some excitement momentarily to be the bearer of the latest gossip, but the thrill quickly goes away and much damage may have been done.
Illustration: I read a poem called: “The Wrecking Crew” Let me read it for you now:
I stood on the street of a busy town,Watching men tearing a building down.
With a ho heave ho and a lusty yell, They swung a beam and a side wall fell.
I asked the foreman of the crew, “Are those men as skilled in all they do?”
“Oh, no, no indeed.” The foreman said. “That’s just Bob and that’s just Fred.”
“Just common laborers are all I need. To tear a tear down a building – is a simple deed.
They can tear it down in a day or two. What took a skilled man a year to build – new.
No skill is involved – no skill do they need, You see – tearing things down is a simple deed.”
And then I thought as I went my way. Just which of these two roles am I trying to play?
Have I walked life’s road with care, Measuring each deed with a rule and square?
Or am I one of those who roam the town, Content with the labor of tearing things down?
James 4:12 c (NKJV).. “…. Who are you to judge another?”
Not only that — but look at the rest of the verse — “Who are you to judge your neighbor?” You can look at another fellow brother or sister in the family of God and somehow you can place yourself somehow above them – in a position of superiority.
What’s the answer to that question? The answer is
Ask The Lord To Change A Critic’s Heart To A Heart of Humility and Love.
The Reason We Judge
Illustration: .- Paulo Coelho (Brazilian novelist): “We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.”
We really know only our own path. And often we think ours is the only way to go or live and this is why we tend to judge others. We may always think we’re always right. And people who think they are always right or always have the right answers will always judge others critically.
Slander is not just a sin of the tongue, but a sin that is deep in our hearts. It is vital that you and I learn to say, “I have a slandering heart. And the reason I have a slandering heart is because I have a judging heart. And the reason I have a judging heart is because I am a breakable person. I desperately need to protect myself. I desperately need acceptance and love. Slander is a wonderful offensive weapon I use to protect myself.”
Are you going around judging others? Stop it!
Alternatives to slandering or judging people by evil talk
Leviticus 19:16 ….You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.
1 Peter 4:8 … And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”
Friend and enemy; we all have them, but it’s far better to be a good friend than a bad enemy who slanders others.
Illustration: Mark Twin is quoted as saying, “It takes your enemy and your friend, working together to hurt you to the heart; the one to slander you and the other to get the news to you.”
If Any One Is Gossiping About Someone To You
Illustration: When a person abused him, Buddha listened in silence; but when the man finished, Buddha asked him, Son, if a man declined to accept a present made to him, to whom would it belong?” The man answered, “To him who offered it.” “My son,” said Buddha, “I decline to accept your abuse, and request you to keep it for yourself.”
2Timothy 2:16a .. But shun profane and idle babblings,
Illustration: And there is always the old saying that what goes around comes around. And anyone who will participate in gossip with you will also gossip about you.
Proverbs 20:19 … He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips.
Romans 16:17 … Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.
If Any One Has Slandered You, Rejoice
Matthew 5:11-12 …11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Proverbs 10:18b … .And whoever spreads slander is a fool.