14 The Solution to the Sin and Sacrilege of Evil Speech

James 4v11-12

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. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, He who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbour? (ESV)

Notice the following in the text before us:

  1. Forms of evils speech
    Lying, deception & slander – this includes flattery and exaggerated praise. These are all forms of evil speech. We should rather use our speech to edify one another (Ephesians 4:29). Paul speaks against evil speech in v11 (cf Matthew 12v36-37 & Proverbs 18v21).
    Evil speech also profanes that which is holy and scorns God’s law and shuns God’s love (v11). Also see Exodus 20v11, Leviticus 19v16, Proverbs 6v16-19, 1 John 4v20 & Matthew 22v39.
    Evil speech also spurns God’s Lordship – it wants to be God (cf Psalm 10v4)!

  2. Solution to evil speech
    a) Recognize God’s sovereignty:
    There is only one Lawgiver and Judge (cf Job 34v12 & Isaiah 33v22).
    b) Receive God’s salvation:
    You need to die to self and be born again (Romans 10v9).
    c) Resist god-playing speech:
    Stop speaking like you are a god (Genesis 3v5). Who are you to judge your neighbour (Romans 14v10-13)? There is also time to speak up (Ecclesiastes 3v7, Proverbs 17v28, 31v8-9 and Matthew 10v26. Exercise wisdom, discernment and love when deciding to speak up and speak the truth in love.

  3. Forms of good speech
    a) Encouragement and comfort – we all need to be encouraged (1 Thessalonians 5v11 & 2 Corinthians 1v3-4).
    b) Truth and honesty – speak honestly (Proverbs 12v22).
    c) Gratitude and thanksgiving – express thanks for God’s provision in our lives (Colossians 3v15 & Ephesians 5v20).
    d) Wisdom and edification – we need to apply the wisdom of God. We need a heart that makes the mouth wise.
    e) Follow the pattern of Jesus – no one spoke like Jesus (John 7v46) and no one ever will. Trust God and speak His Word.
    f) Use your voice – speak God’s Word and encourage those around you.