Final Thoughts on James 4:11-12
Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of 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 one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another? NKJV
James, chapter 4, opened by addressing the issue of conflict within the church. In verses 11-12, the Lord deals with judgmentalism, which is a major cause of conflict within churches.
In verse 1, the Lord warns us not to speak evil of a Christian brother or sister. He is not talking about confronting a brother or sister in obvious sin, which is actually commanded in Scripture (Matt. 18:15-17; I Cor. 4:14; Tit. 1:13, 3:10). Rather He is condemning careless, derogatory, critical, and false statements against brothers and sisters in Christ.
According to verse 11, those who speak evil of their Christian brethren, set themselves up as judges and condemn them, thereby defaming and disregarding God’s law which expressly forbids such slanderous condemnation. By refusing to submit to God’s law, they place themselves above it as its judges.
In verse 12, we are reminded that God alone is the divine Lawgiver and the only one who has the right to pronounce judgments on a person’s actions. Righteous judgment (Jn. 7:24) is not based on opinion, heresay, or personal preference, but on the explicit and clear commandments of the divine Lawgiver. Even when we confront someone else regarding their actions, we need to be certain that we know all of the facts and can quote explicit, black and white Scripture before we charge them with sin. In matters not plainly declared as sin by the Lord, we cannot accuse others of sinning or we become guilty of the very judgmentalism that God is condemning in our text.
Verse 12 closes with the question, “Who are you to judge another?” Our Christian brethren are our Lord’s servants, not ours. To Him alone, they stand or fall—just as we do (Rom. 14:4).