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Slander

Slander

Words of Faith 5-20-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

To unsubscribe, follow the directions at the end of this Devotion.

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James 4:11-12

        Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.  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?

 

       Slander is such a harsh word. It means to make false statements or misrepresentations that damage a person's reputation.   It is a word that brings up images of tabloid papers entangled in litigation with movie stars.  We might well claim that as a Christian... "I never 'slander'.”  But actually, the phrase James has used is much broader than the legal definition. 

      The word used by James actually means any form of speaking against a person and would even include essentially truthful statements made in a harsh or unkind manner.  Wow.  That is a different story.  We probably all do that from time to time.  The verb tense forbids a "continuing action" of speaking badly.  Do not "continue to speak against one another..." in contemporary language.  In other words, stop poor-mouthing.  Don't bad mouth.  

        Apparently, James knew that talking badly about one another had become common among the Christians he was addressing.  He says that to do so is to stand above the Law.  He probably meant the command in Leviticus 19:18 to "Love your neighbor as yourself.” 

       As Christians, we can easily fall into this trap.  Sometimes we rationalize that we are not really judging but "discerning.”  We are not really speaking against that person, but we are "sharing a concern.”  Prayer sessions can easily dissolve into gossip sessions.  Brainstorming can turn into griping against others.  We may even reason that if we "judge" according to a measure we are willing to be "judged by," then it is okay. We so easily fall into judging others and even judging ourselves.

        James has a strong word for us: "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?"   We are not to judge anyone-- not even ourselves! 

       That's right.  You are your closest neighbor.  You are not allowed to speak badly, even of yourself.  You know that little pity party you have periodically.  That time of the week when you beat up on yourself.  Why?  Because you are the creation of God redeemed at great cost, and it is the sole place of God to judge.  So...

         "Hey you..." 

         "Me?" 

         "Yes YOU!" 

         "Me?" 

         "Yes. Who are YOU to JUDGE?"   

         "But I was only beating myself up for all the mistakes I have made in life..." 

         "Who are YOU to judge... your neighbor... your family member... another church...  or yourself?"

 

       Lord, give me a little pinch today or even a quick kick in the conscience if I begin to slander or speak badly of anyone, even myself.  Thank You, Lord.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2009, 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.