Sitting in Judgment

James 4:11-12

11Brothers 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. 12There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

Don’t Judge

You may have heard someone saying, “Don’t judge if you are not a judge?”

If you read news reports about the government, you may observe politically motivated articles. It appears like reporters who favor particular political colors behave like judges. They add personal judgment, opinion or notion to their reports. If reports do not favor their political agenda, they highlight the negative part; and, they may magnify the positive part of the news, if anything favors their favored political color.

Consequently, loyal subscribers and logical thinkers cannot agree in their opinion. Politically motivated articles can influence subscribers to favor their political agenda.

How should believers react to media outlets that publish politically motivated articles?

Celebrities, politicians and church leaders are regularly scrutinized by media. This judgmental behavior has become regular diet even in social media; it contaminated our society, has infected and polluted the church. Did you sense any concern seriously?

It is a personal preference to be involved in politics. It’s your choice to support a particular political color. Is it very easy for you to trust politicians? If we cannot agree with particular authorities, we should pray for them that they may be given godly wisdom. All authorities need godly wisdom. If God grant them wisdom and they perform responsibly, it certainly is favorable to constituents, even Christians. How about that?

Actually, it is not very pleasant, if mindset is filled with negativities; it is disturbing experience. As Christian, we should respect all authorities. There’s no authority except that which God has established: authorities in school, place of work, in the government and in the church. The Lord wants everyone to have godly wisdom and be blessed.

Try this: If you sense any disagreement, pray that God grants godly wisdom to a person you cannot agree with, and fervently pray also for godly wisdom for yourself.

If godly wisdom prevails between you and the person you disagree with, peaceful and joyful experience will prevail also. Try that at home, at workplaces, or in school.

You won’t bother judging, if you pray for others. It’s written in Matthew 7:1-2: 1Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Did you know that it favors us when we regularly pray for authorities or leaders?

By faith, we believe that godly wisdom and godly activities favors godly people.

If God grants wisdom to authorities, they perform for the welfare of their constituents, even Christians. Godly wisdom produces blessings that inspire praise and thank God.

Imagine this for yourselves: Is it impossible that one day, God may grant you authority wherever he situates or relocates you? You don’t know for sure. It is possible!

Does God want you to be stagnant and dormant where he situated you? No!

Surely, God wants to bless you so that you testify of his grace! Do you think so?

Who wished to be promoted? Lord God, please grant their wish to be promoted! But, did you know that power and authority are included in your promotion? If a perfect time of God comes, and the Lord ordains your promotion, you surely love subordinates who will pray for you regularly, right? How wonderful that would be, right?

And, regularly pray for church leaders. When one day God moves your heart to accept your nomination to church leadership, you will appreciate it when members pray regularly for you. If you won’t be called to church leadership, perhaps your children will become future church leaders; you will surely appreciate prayers for them also, right?

If we regularly pray for church leaders, we become blessing to the body of Christ, the church. God will surely bless us when we pray for them. Complaint against leaders cannot attract blessing. The Lord has a warning for every believer in Matthew 12:30-32: 30Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Personally, if our intention is to gather, we avoid complaints; so, we pray instead.

Our church welcomes everyone who wishes to listen to the word of God. But we don’t know specifically if applicants for church membership are genuine believers or just pretenders. Outside appearance can deceived anyone, but we don’t judge anyone. We trust that Christ gathers all he wants to become active part of his body, the church.

Sadly, confusion may happen to any local church. But how should we respond when individuals cause confusion among us? We pray that they gather and not scatter.

Why does God allow confusion? What is blasphemy that cannot be forgiven?

Blasphemy is slander, malicious libel, defamation or gossip. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and his work is very dangerous and unforgivable sin according to Christ.

Christ is the Truth; whatever he says is true. If he says that blasphemy will not be forgiven, pay attention to anything you say against the church and church leaders.

How do you know, if the Holy Spirit of God is at work in the church or not? How do you know if the Holy Spirit of Christ is talking through church leaders? How do you know if what you said or uttered is against the Holy Spirit or not?

Anyone who scatters believers away from his body, the church, is enemy of the Lord.

If Christ is active in us, we gather believers to be active part of his body. Keep praying that God would bless our church leaders with enthusiasm of gathering believers to the Lord. Pray that the church will be protected from malicious gossip, libel or slander.

1.  Slander

11Brothers 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. 

What are other terms for “Slander?”Malicious gossip, damaging defamation or libel!” This godly command, “Do not slander one another,” is the exact opposite of what the human sinful instinct naturally wants to do. Remember that whenever a command from the Lord starts with, “Do not,” that activity that God forbids us to do is the exact activity that we instinctively do. It is very natural – that is why God gives such command.

If slander is not instinctive to natural sinful self, then such command isn’t useful.

Keep remembering that we need help from the Lord to follow his instruction according to godly standard. It’s a warning. It is judgmental attitude to spread malicious defamation against fellow believers. It violates God’ law; it’s rebellion to him. It is sin.

Malicious gossip has objective to damage reputation. Slanderous accusation was actually very obvious in the behavior of Jewish leaders who persecuted Jesus Christ.

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

At one particular Sabbath Day, Jesus healed a man born blind. The Pharisees and Jewish leaders consider such miracle as violation to their tradition. They investigated what happened in John 9:24-34, 24A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” 25He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” 26Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

28Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” 30The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

The Pharisees hold the highest standard of righteousness according to tradition. They should know that God listens to the godly person who does his will. So, they felt insulted when the former blind lectured them. Unfortunately, the Pharisees were deprived of the ability to identify the miracle as God’s work. Why? Their heart was filled with greed for power and selfishness for human praise. They insulted the former blind man that Jesus healed, as steeped in sin at birth. Those Jewish leaders were very quick also to accuse and slander Christ as sinner.

In comparison, Jesus Christ healed the blind man; he did not insult him. Later, in John 9:39-41, 39Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” 40Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” 41Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

Personally, have your spiritual eyes been opened? Have you truly believed that Jesus Christ can save you from eternal punishment? Do you believe that God will judge all people? When Judgment Day comes, will you be included with those who are saved?

2.  Save

12There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

Slanderous gossips are judgmental toward others. Judgmental statements are violation of godly commands. Malicious gossip is like stepping on other people to elevate gossipers’ selves! When they slander, defame, gossip or libel, they imply that they are on higher level. Slanderous, malicious statements are judgmental. Christ warns in Matthew 7:1-2:  1Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

What are consequences of judgmental attitude? It cannot benefit us. Judgmental attitude is judgment against us; it condemns us with similar reckless slander, malicious gossip, damaging defamation or libel against others. It’s senseless!

Hanging around slanderous gossiper or following them on social media can infect mindset negatively. What name was used to identify individuals who gossip or slander?

Practice it as habit to tell nothing but the truth and you invite blessings into your life.

Naturally, human instinct responds negatively when unpleasant words strikes. It’s persuasive human impulse to retaliate especially when consumed by emotional hurts.

            Take note: Unguarded moments of difficulties and struggles may expose human vulnerability. This is why we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit of Christ always.

King David

We can learn from King David. When his son Absalom tried to grab the kingdom of Israel from him, he quietly left Jerusalem instead of fighting for his right as king. While King David and his loyal army left Jerusalem, Shimei insulted and cursed him. It says in 2 Samuel 16:5-13, 5As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. 6He pelted David and all the king’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left.

 7As he cursed, Shimei said, “Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! 8The Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The Lord has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!”

9Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.” 10But the king said, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’”

11David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. 12It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.” 13So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt.

You heard it said, “When it rains, it pours!” It pertains to successive problems after another problem. You have difficult problem, expect more problems to come.

Why did God allow David to be disrespected by his son Absalom and a Benjamite?

The humble King David may have presumed that the Lord may be testing him when Shimei insulted and cursed him. Abishai wanted to retaliate for David’s sake. Abishai was a son Zeruiah, a sister of King David. As king of Israel, David exemplified to Abishai and all his officials how believers of God should respond to insults and curses.

King David escaped from Absalom who tried to grab the kingdom of Israel from him. Shimei insulted him, cursed him, threw stone at him and showered him with dirt. But still, David hoped that the Lord will look upon his misery and restore his kingship. King David did not retaliate against Absalom or Shimei. Absalom died in battle. Shimei caused his own death when he violated what King Solomon told him.

Was it God’s judgment for their disrespect of King David, God’s anointed king?

It warns in Psalm 105:15, 15Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.

Personally, how do you know when authorities are anointed by the Lord? How do you know when church leaders are anointed by the Lord?

It is best to avoid judgmental attitude and not violate God’s command.

The Lord is observing all of us. He will judge lifestyle, manners and attitudes. We have to make sure that we are filled with his Holy Spirit always so that in everything we do, think, or say, would earn eternal treasure for us in heaven and earn his rewards.

Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus Christ!!!

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