James 4:11

“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” (NIV).

What does it mean to slander someone?  “The utterance of defamatory statements injurious to the reputation or well-being of a person.”  Put this in your own words.

What law are we speaking against if we speak against a brother?  see Exodus 20:16, also against the law of Christ in Matthew 7:1

We should not speak falsely against someone to get them in trouble or ruin their reputation.  However, what if the information is true?  How do we handle it in that case?

            1. read Ephesians 4:15.  The truth must be spoken, but it must be delivered with love and compassion, not with bruteness or unconcern for the effected person.

            2. read 1 Peter 4:8.  Sometimes because of love, it is better not to speak of the situation outside of interaction with the effected parties.

            3. (Tie in with last week’s one another) Galatians 6:1-2.    If the information about the person is true, it is best to approach the person gently without making a public spectacle of it.  Through this the person may be restored without having his reputation and self-respect damaged.  This is an appropriate way of bearing one another’s burdens.

            4. It may eventually be necessary to go further, but never with malice or with the intent of destroying the person’s reputation.  Rather, for the good of the person and the church as a whole the truth may need to be made public, but again for the purpose of dealing with the situation.  This should always be the last resort when all other means have failed.  Matthew 18:15-17.  Additionally, when it comes to this situation, only verifiable facts should be presented in a public forum (that is what it means when it says, “every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses”), else slander may result.

Let’s read the full context:  James 4:11-12.

We already stated that to slander a brother or sister is to judge the Law.  If we judge the law, according to verse 12, who are we judging? 

Who holds the exclusive right to judge?

Why does verse 12 ask, “who are you to judge your neighbor?”  compare Matthew 7:1-5 

Colossians 4:6 is in the context of witnessing, but it also gives some insight into the proper way to act in regard to all our conversation.  Close by reading this verse out loud. 

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