James 4:11 “Do not speak~| against one another, brothers and sisters. He who speaks against a fellow believer or judges a fellow believer speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but its judge.”
It is easy to condemn someone for addiction to drugs or pornography, but the most destructive vice is to “speak against one another”—that is, to slander and malign a “brother or sister.”
The delight of being on the criticizing side of the slander and gossip builds a corrupt, self-justifying, and secret society that breeds an inevitable addiction to slander. The damaged victims eventually are fired, run off, or just disappear, and no one cares how deeply they have been hurt or crushed in spirit.
These addicts to slander just begin their search for another victim, and the slanderers feel righteous about getting rid of an objectionable brother or sister.
It is much worse when the perpetrator does not care that he is destroying a part of the body of Christ! Godly people are “those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends” (Ps 15:3NLT). David declared, “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I [God] will destroy” (Ps 101:5).
Paul said the problems in the church at Corinth were caused by “quarreling, jealousy, intense anger, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder” (2 Cor 12:20). He wrote to the Ephesians, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (4:31). Peter likewise ordered, “Get rid of every kind of evil, every kind of deception, hypocrisy, jealousy, and every kind of slander” (1 Pet 2:1).
The most maliciousness thing about slander is that there is no intent or effort to help the victim, either to counsel, to advise, or to encourage. The verb means to “speak against,” and it refers to “mindless, careless, critical, derogatory, untrue, or exaggerated speech directed against others,” who are often seen as a possible threat or embarrassment to your group.
The tense of the verb suggests that slandering was already going on in the church and it had to stop. Can you help stop the plague of slander and gossip in your circles of influence?
“Dear Jesus, may Your Spirit bring quick and deep conviction in me any moment that I may be tempted to speak evil of another believer. Help me to recognize how deeply You and others are hurt when I give in to such behavior.”