What scripture is really ministering to your heart right now, and why?
James 4:11 Do not speak against one another, brethren He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.
One of my parents’ most emphatic lessons was about this verse. They didn’t necessarily quote it, but they did urge me throughout my life not to be defensive. I remember dad specifically saying, “Let them be wrong.” He meant, of course, that if someone accused me of something it didn’t hurt me to just let them be wrong. Of course, if it meant that I was in trouble or had to make restitution for something I didn’t do, he didn’t intend for me to “turn the other cheek” if there were appropriate appeals channels. My parents were just people.
However, I knew from a young age, that I didn’t always have to defend myself. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn that lesson well. My pride, being what it is, demands satisfaction. I don’t like to suck it up and let untrue things about me stand unchallenged.
However, I’ve learned in the past ten to fifteen years how to apply the verse above in my life. There are seasons when it becomes like a security blanket around me. When it seems like life is battering me from all sides, when the church has turned from the battlefield with Satan and his minions and is now embracing and even encouraging “Friendly fire,” at these times this verse becomes a balm to my soul.
I learned this verse in the 9th grade. We memorized the entire book of James. I distinctly remember working on this over Thanksgiving break so that I could recite it and be signed off on Monday before the end of the month.
“Speak not evil of one another, brethren.” The verse is clear.
Whom is he talking to and about? The church. Our brothers and sisters in Christ.
What does he say? “Do not speak evil.”
What does it mean? Well, I know that I’m being a little simplistic but the fact is, I think it means what it says. “Dont’ speak evil of your brothers. Don’t make public another’s wrongs making yourself judge and jury. This is a hard thing not to do especially when
1. Your accusations are true and can be well substantiated.
2. Others are throwing accusations at you- and worse, they are either misrepresented or worse, untrue.
But, I think I understand James’ point.
Proverbs 17:9 says, “He who conceals a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.”
Do not judge so that you will not be judged.
For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
How do I want others to judge me? Do I want them to overlook my transgressions? Then I need to be willing to do it. In my quest to proclaim my innocence, do I miss the log in my eye? I’m a wiser woman if I just keep my mouth shut.
If Jesus could bear my sins for me, without complaint, without protestations of innocence, can I not cover the faults of others? Will it kill me to bear the burden of false accusation? It won’t. And if in doing so, I cover the transgressions of another, isn’t that what being a Christian is all about?
“But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.”
Yes, it’s out of context but it is a statement we make often. “Be sure your sin will find you out.” Isn’t the opposite usually true as well?
As Shakespeare so simply stated, “Truth will out.”
Wouldn’t it be a beautiful world if Christians everywhere
1. Refused to speak ill of the brethren.
2. Covered a transgression.
3. Focused on their own logs and quit crying to the world of the specks in their brethren’s eyes?
This is what the Lord is showing me through His word lately.