James 4:11 says, “Do not speak against one another, brethren. He, who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but 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 who judge you neighbor.”
The word that James uses for speaking against one another in this passage means to slander someone or to speak negatively about someone when they are not there to defend themselves. Our only speech to one another about one another ought to be edifying and uplifting. James is telling us, “Do not speak against…do not slander your…do not gossip about your brother or sister.
In Psalm 50, God says that gossip and slander are marks of the wicked. Listen to these words, “But to the wicked God says, ‘You let your mouth loose in evil and you tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son’” (Psalm 50:16a, 19-20).
Psalm 101:5, records these words of the Lord. “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; no one who has a haughty look, and an arrogant heart will I endure.”
Do you hear the words of the Lord?
In Romans 1:30, the Apostle Paul wrote that haters of God can be identified by two things, “…gossip and slander.” The very things that the Psalmist said identify the wicked.
In his second letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul feared that he would find slander and gossip in their midst if he came to visit them.
There are few sins which the Bible so roundly condemns as it does slander and gossip. They are violations of what James calls The Royal Law. He then identifies the Royal Law as this, “…You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself” (James 2:8).
When you speak about another when they are out of your presence, you are to speak of them in the manner you would if they were standing at your side, or to speak of them as you would wish them to speak if you when you are not present at their side.
The Bible condemns gossip and slander because they are violations of Christ’s Royal Law. James then tells us that to speak against a brother is to speak against and to judge the Law of God. The right of judgment belongs to God; for He is the only one who can discern the deep things of the heart.