If you’ve noticed anything by this point in our venture through the book of James you know that this group of people James is writing to had issues. The biggest of which seems to be what these people were doing with their words. I say this because so far up to our point in this letter there have been 8 times when James has specifically addressed this issue.
In 1:13 he tells us that no one is to “say when tempted ‘I am being tempted by God’ for God cannot be tempted by evil and He Himself tempts no one.”
In 1:19 he tells us to “be quick to hear, slow to speak…”
In 1:26 he tells us that “if anyone thinks they’re religious and does not bridle the tongue” he deceives his heart, and that your religion is worthless.
In 2:1-13 he tells us if we use our words to dishonor the poor and honor the rich, we are not fulfilling the royal law of love and have broken God’s entire law.
In 2:14-26 he tells us if we say we have faith but have works it doesn’t really matter we say because what we say is wrong.
In 3:1-12 (the most direct passage on the tongue in the book) he tells us about the danger of our tongues and warns us against it with vivid images.
In 3:13-18 he tells us that true wisdom will show itself in meekness, not in prideful boasting which is against the truth.
And in here in our text for this morning, 4:11-12, James not only warns against speaking against our brothers and sisters in Christ, but reveals that the consequences for doing such a thing are dreadful.
Perhaps some of you therefore recall what I said earlier about the tongue and think this message isn’t for you. So hear me loud and clear when I say: ladies – this is for you. You do speak more than twice as much as men and therefore ought to take a serious reflection on how you use your words. But guys, don’t think for one minute that you’re off the hook here, you may not speak audibly as much as women do, but I know for a fact that you’re always talking to yourself throughout the day and that some of the words that pass through your mind make the words women speak look like child’s play. So men and women, older and younger, hear your God speak to you from James 4:11-12:
“Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”