“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.” James 4:11
The theme for my day must be the words that come out of my mouth. In another devotion I was reading today, the writer felt prompted by Holy Spirit following a disagreement with his spouse in the early years of his marriage. He was asked “would you talk to a fellow church member the way you just talked to your wife?” I admit, I was convicted because I have at times spoke terrible words and tones towards my spouse that I would never use with others.
This Scripture makes me question, if I wouldn’t talk to them in a certain tone or in a negative manner, why would I be willing to talk about them negatively? Speaking evil about a brother or sister in Christ is also not okay. Although this is something I guard against, I know I am guilty.
In my early years as a Christian, even in the years coming back to God after I walked away, judgmental comments frequented my lips. I have learned to guard my mouth. There are times the thoughts may come, but I can take them captive. I can look back to where my assumptions about a person were wrong. God has shown me often times the love the person has for Him is expressed in the very thing I am condemning. He also reminds me of the scripture:
“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” James 2:10
Yet, I know there are times where I will share with a friend something that is bothering me that involves another person. For me, part of it is processing and gaining another perspective because I am quick to realize I may be the one in the wrong. Even so, I should be taking those concerns to God if they involve His children(and even more so if it involves someone who is lost). Holy Spirit has the ability to correct me. Holy Spirit can also give me the words to speak if there is something I need to take to that brother or sister in Christ.
I recently watched a show on television that was very controversial. Many people posted on social media about not watching it because of the demonic forces at work and opening the door to those in your home. I agree that we live in a world where the spiritual forces are quick to come when open the door. We need to guard against giving the enemy any foothold in our lives.
The show shared the stories of the victims of a notorious serial killer. The crimes were nothing short of evil. As a therapist, these crimes interest me. I am interested in the things that lead up to this behavior and signs that I might want to be aware of, although I hope I never actually need to know these things in practice. I am just as interested in the victim’s stories and the impact on the family as the secondary victims. There is much to learn from true stories.
I was surprised as the series came to an end to learn about the baptism of the serial killer. It was implied that he had asked for forgiveness and accept Christ as his Savior while in prison. The story ends, and he is killed by another inmate so there is little to show any fruit of change. Only God and the rest of Heaven know if there was a true repentance and salvation. If there was, his actions were forgiven and he is a brother in Christ. Despite the evil, and how people speak about the show and his actions, the story for me, turned to one of grace and ultimate forgiveness. God can forgive his actions, the same as He forgave my sins.
I know there are those that cringe at the thought of murderers and child abusers being forgiven, but if there is true repentance and acceptance of Christ the old sinful man is dead and they are a new creation. I point back to James 2:10. We are all guilty of something.
This was something God showed me decades ago when working with a child molester. I was actually helping the victim and family following a failure in the justice system. I wanted him to pay and I wanted him to take responsibility. Neither was going to happen. My heart was angry at what this man had done, and I prayed for him to burn in hell. Every time I would be in church, I would feel convicted because of my thoughts towards this man I didn’t even know.
I am not sure why God let me see him through His eyes, and why He let me ponder if the man could be forgiven. Even more to consider that the man could go to Heaven and not hell, despite his actions. God wasn’t saying He is my brother in Christ, but that he could be, and that is where my prayer should have been.
It took me a long while of sitting with that, and a lot of time in prayer and at the alter to get there; to understand that my “white lie” keeps me the same distance from God as the heinous crimes committed. God doesn’t use the world’s measuring stick for sin. Anything short of perfection without the blood of Christ keeps me from Him. And anything with the blood of Christ is forgiven as far as the east is from the west and washed as white as snow.
So, speaking evil against a brother or sister is not okay. They are forgiven the same as I am. They will never be perfect this side of Heaven, and neither will I. We are equally covered by the blood of Christ, and that is fully. Only God can judge, so I need to keep my mouth shut unless I am talking to Him, or being led by Holy Spirit to speak to my brother or sister in Christ. I am not the judge. God is.
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