The Evil of Evil Speaking

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” (James 4:11).

“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5).

One of the tantalizing appeals of worldliness is it provides you with a way to think of yourself as being better than others. It subtly approves of and encourages snobbishness, arrogance, and elitism. It is the father of self-righteousness.

The evil speaking condemned by James arises from an unrighteous attitude toward a fellow Christian. It is a judgmental disposition void of any mercy or compassion. This evil mindset expresses itself in harsh condemnation of others. It implicitly charges God and His Law with being “too soft” on sin and sinners. Thus, someone is needed (i.e., you) to serve as the perfect judge and jury of others’ perceived faults and shortcomings.

This is the antithesis of the exhortation to meekness in Galatians 6:1 and of Jesus’ instruction to rid yourself of any hypocrisy prior to addressing another’s shortcomings (Matthew 7:3-5). Instead of seeing yourself as an equal to every other sinner under God’s law, you have elevated yourself not only above others but also above God and His law! Who are you to believe yourself qualified for such?

Such a presumptuous mindset can only culminate in presumptuous speech. This is the horrific evil which undergirds evil speaking.

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Author: jchowning

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