S14P5 – Submission to God: leaving judgment to him
James 4: 11-12
Believers, do not speak against or slander one another. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the Law and judges the Law. If you judge the Law, you are not a doer of the Law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you to pass judgment on your neighbor?
Submission to God requires understanding one’s role in the kingdom and one’s position in relationship to him. For example, while judgment is within God’s purview, it is not within ours. Judgment, however, is not to be confused with those ways in which the bible instructs us to address sin, such as correcting a brother in love [Matt. 18:15-17] or disassociating with one who desires to live in a sinful manner [1 Cor. 5:11]. We are called to live at a certain standard and encourage the brethren to do the same. Judgment is something altogether different.
As it states in this passage, judgment is speaking against or slandering a fellow believer. Where proper spiritual correction and compassion address the sin, judgment addresses the person. The godly response to a brother caught in the snare of sin does not come with condemnation. Through his sin, he brings his own condemnation upon himself [Titus 3:10-11]. The godly response has the aim of encouraging the believer to overcome sin. Judgment brings condemnation and has the aim of tearing down the believer. Judgment misunderstands the sin, the person and the role God has for us in the situation.
While we can judge whether an act is sin, we cannot judge the person who commits the act. To speak against another because of his sin is the judgment that is not within our authority. The authority to judge man belongs only to God the Son [Acts 17:31; John 5:22, 27]. He fulfilled the law [Matt. 5:17] and through him we are saved [John 3:16]. Father, remove from us the motives of judgment and condemnation, and instill in us a right understanding of our role in confronting the sins of another.