“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? James 4:11-12
I believe with all my heart that sincere, deliberate, in-depth study of God’s Word can lead to only one outcome: falling madly in love with the God of the Bible and its truth. When we really submit ourselves to the authority of truth, how can we not be changed by it? How can we not be transformed from the inside out?
I am currently experiencing this wonderful reality, and it is occurring within the inspired pages of the book of James. God’s Word is coming alive to me as I read, study, handwrite out, and memorize this incredible but short book of Scripture. The more I gaze intently into this law of liberty, the more I see myself for who I really am and not for who I’m portraying myself to be, and the more I see the beautiful face of my Savior. I can’t help but fall in love with Christ in the process. He is changing me through His Word, and the toughest parts of it that bring the most conviction are the portions that I fear I need to hear most.
James has a tender heart for the things that break God’s heart. Perhaps it was his proximity to Jesus Himself that softened the heart of James. Growing up under the same roof as Jesus as his younger half-brother, James writes with fervency and conviction on many issues that we as believers should take good notes. If we continue to walk in grace alone yet refuse to receive truth, and at many times the hard truth, we will never truly experience the abundant life that Christ died to give us. One point in particular that God is drawing to the surface in my own life is this issue of passing judgment on others. How hypocritical of me to judge another for the very same things that I am so prone to fall into myself. Make no mistake, believer: there is no sin that we are immune to. Let me say it again in a different way. Each one of us is never above the temptation to sin of any kind. The moment we are deceived into thinking that we are immune or above is the precise moment that the enemy gains a foothold in our life to tempt us and to taunt us in that way. Passing judgment on others is that very thing for me.
Raised in the church, bathed in Scripture from the time I was a child, trained in the study of God’s Word, and walking with Christ now for years, I so easily find myself looking down on the sins of others. Disgusting and completely revolting, I know. A stench in the nostrils of God, I know. An intense and steady gaze on the inspired words of James has opened up my eyes to this hideous sin that reeks within me, and I refuse to allow the stench to remain any longer.
Fellow sister in Christ, do you not think that if we as children of God would focus more intently on the sin in our own lives, the planks in our own eyes as opposed to the specks in another’s, that we would experience a much more healthy, vibrant, loving, grace and truth filled body of Christ? Could you and I today choose to take a long, hard look into the mirror of truth (God’s Word) and choose to allow it to reveal the darkness in us, and then refuse to remain in that place of sin any longer? God’s Word has the power to set us free – from a slanderous tongue, from a critical spirit, from a judging heart, from every pit of sin. He is able. Get on your knees, look up to the heavens, confess every sin that builds a barrier between you and the Lord, and then rise to your feet and walk in freedom. Love like He loves.