Be Slow to Anger – Part 4
Life Lessons from Hard Times – Studies in James
Last week, James faced us squarely with inconsistent living that was transparent infidelity to God and choosing life goals that made a mockery of the God we claimed to belong to and follow. Now, James applies this to relationships!
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?
1. Genuine humility which stops arguments requires stopping critical and condemning speech about others. This was, unfortunately, a regular problem in the early church. Philippians 4:2. I plead with Euodia and Syntyche to agree with each other. Paul, as did James, called out individuals by name and pled with them to speak well of each other and get along. There is no way we have a gospel we can offer others if it is not working in our own lives. Our first analysis is how does my behavior conform, or not, to the standards of the Kingdom.
2. Personal conduct which condemns us first. Speaking critically of others condemns us first, breaks the greatest of the Law and Commandments, to love your neighbor as yourself. This condemns the royal law and the One who is the True Judge and Lawgiver.
3. There is one God who alone determines whether to save someone or discipline them for wrong conduct. Essentially, by speaking critically of others, we have taken on a role that not only condemns us by those same standards but is a role exclusively left to God. Bottom line: who are we to judge others? Not only are we to rein in our tongue but also the byproducts of our tongue that tear others down in an attempt to lift ourselves up. The actual opposite happens, to our condemnation.
Genuine repentance comes from careful humility. None of us can change our beginnings, but we can start where we are and change the ending! Or, in the words of C.S. Lewis, “Humility is not thinking less of ourselves; it is thinking of ourselves less.” Only by these measurements do we find true repentance. God’s best in your journey together with me.
– John Moore