“Do Not SPEAK EVIL of One Another”:  James 4:11

Dr. Gary M. Barker

Newspaper Article Published 10.23.19

One of the most destructive things that can be done when believers come together at church is to not control what is said, thus causing serious conflicts and hurt feelings.  The apostle James clearly addresses this problem in chapter three verses one thru twelve.  He declares that the control and use of the tongue is a manifestation of spiritual maturity (James 3:2).  Jesus also taught in Matthew 12:34-37 that the words that a person speaks reveal whether his character is good or evil.  The wise man Solomon declares in Proverbs 18:21 that the tongue has the power to cause life or death.  With these thoughts in mind, we certainly need to heed the command that James the apostle gives us in James 4:11: “Speak not Evil one of another, Brethren.”

James gives a prohibition in the original Greek text which can be translated “STOP SPEAKING EVIL”.  The believers were using their tongues in an evil way which was to immediately stop. In the context, the evil speaking was passing undeserved and critical judgment upon other believers.  Usually this critical spirit is motivated by having an attitude of superiority.  A person who thinks he is better than everyone else judges those who don’t measure up to his standards of right and wrong.  James states that this action violates the law of love by not treating others as you would like to be treated (Leviticus 19:18).  What each local church needs is MORE LOVERS and LESS JUDGES.  Jesus did teach that there was a place for righteous judgment when it was necessary (Matthew 7:1-5).

The following list is how the tongue is to be used in a POSITIVE WAY.

  1. It is to be controlled or “bridled”: James 1:26
  2. It is to be TAMED by God: James 3:8
  3. It is to be unoffensive: James 3:2.
  4. It is to speak the Truth in love: Ephesians 4:15.
  5. It is to build up or edify: Ephesians 4:29.
  6. It is to be used to praise God: Hebrews 13:15.
  7. It is to proclaim God’s Word: Psalm 119:172.
  8. It is to please God: Psalm 19:14.

The apostle Peter in his epistle promises believers that they will love life and see good days if they refrain from using their tongue in an evil way (1 Peter 3:10).  Using the tongue in a positive way will promote alot of blessing in a person’s life.  Let’s pray that God will enable us to speak in a positive way.