“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.”
speaks evil of the law and judges the law.
God is the Giver of the law; the One who enacts the Word of God. When we judge fellow Christians, we “speak evil of the law” and judge God’s law. When we criticize the Word of God (the Law), we criticize God Himself. We assume the place of God in doing so. We love to play God.
We need to qualify the type of judgment here; this is not a prohibition against correcting Christians who go astray (Mt 18:15-17; 1 Co 5:1-5). The issue here is not a correction but slanderous judgment and censorship.
The essence of the law is love (Ro 13:8; Ja 2:8). Slander disregards love, and so violates the law. Love seeks the well-being of others.
Slander is a violation of the Word of God and the law of love.
Since slander breaches the law of love, it infringes on God’s law (Word). In doing so, we put ourselves above God’s Word. This is the arrogance of the highest order because we take the Word of God out of the equation. Not only do we speak disparagingly of fellow Christians, but also we disregard the Word of God.
Censure of fellow Christians is a censure of the Word of God because the essence of the Word of God is to love God and love our neighbor.
I've then reading this commentary. Its so confusing when I hear people talk about judgement. Is there like a general rule that one can use on himself to see whether he is actually judging biblically or whether he is slandering? It just seems like such a fine line. I hear other Christians talk about other Christians in things like what they are for not doing for God or how they behave in their personal life and say they are not Christians. I see things in the Bible like this too so I don't know whether this is considered judgment or slander. it's affecting a decision on whether I will participate in a specific ministry or not because of these things that are being said by this Pastor. I really don't know what to do.
Renee, the difference between judging and slandering is based on whether we prejudge motives or not among other things. If we see an apple tree with apples hanging from it. We call it an apple tree–that is not judgment but discernment. God wants us to discern false doctrine, immoral things, etc. However, to slander a person is an attempt to diminish that person's character albeit even if they have done something wrong. Love covers a person's sin (1 Pe 4:8) but that does not mean we should neglect the situation.
Dr. Grant thank you for taking the time to address my concern. Would you mind giving an example with a Christian. For example I find out my Christian sister is having an affair, I approach her about it but she is unrepentent after several conversations. What would the example of me dealing with this sister in a loving way verses a slanderous way?
Renee, the purpose of church discipline is restoration, not punishment. The biblical process of discipline is 1) go to the individual personally to confront her about her sin (which you have done), 2) take 2 or 3 with you to help her see her sin, if she does not repent after the first two steps then 3) taken it to the board. Mt 18 decribes this process.
Also, it would be slander to tell others about her sin with the idea of comparision–"She sinned, I didn't (I am better than she is)." Malice seeks to hurt another believer because of their sin. Seeking restoration carries no malice or slander.
Thank you. That helps a great deal.