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Do not speak against one another, brothers. 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. (James 4:11)
Three times within this one verse, James talks of “speaking against.” The Greek term (καταλαλέω katalaleō) describes charging falsely or with malicious intent; to attack the good name and reputation of someone. In short, to slander, speak against, accuse. (vid. 1Pe 2:12; 3:16) We must remember that Scripture does not say that it is wrong to speak out against wrongdoing or anything contrary to God’s Word. For example, the overseers within a congregation counsel on that quite often.
Moreover, Christians are to report any serious sin or practice of sin to the church leaders. In addition, if one has been personally wronged, a specific approach needs to take place. In other words, the one who has been personally wronged would go to the person privately. If unsuccessful, they would take another as a witness. If there were still no progress, they would take it to the church leaders.
James has already warned against anger (James 1:19–20), favoritism (James 2:1–13), cursing (James 3:9–10), and wars and fights (James 4:1–2). Here James is dealing with another aspect of a wrong attitude toward one’s brother. It is a powerfully grave personal view that is now being considered. Here again, James refers to his readers as “brothers” because this will let them know just how egregious their wrongdoing is. Often in life, one who lacks love and compassion for another will seek to elevate himself by slandering another, seeking to make him look inferior by comparison. The psalmist describes such a person, “You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son.” (Ps. 50:20) In addition, a sanctimonious, smug, and haughty attitude can make a person disposed toward being critical of others and their human weaknesses, even to the point of accusing them or inferring they are guilty of wrongdoing. (John 9:13-16, 28, 34) Regardless of why the slander of another has no place within the Christian congregation. (See Lev. 19:16; Pro. 3:29-30) “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23); therefore, the tendency to backbite, gossip, or even slander is within us all, so James’ counsel is very beneficial.
We can internally evaluate the conduct of another because we must be able to determine who is a good or bad association for our children or us. However, we are not to judge one as to their standing before God, as a righteous one or an unrighteous one. Jesus said, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” (Matt. 7:1; See Rom. 2:1; 14:1–3) We are not overly critical of others, always finding fault and being opinionated. This is true of our perception of non-Christians, especially our spiritual brothers and sisters. This is the gossip, backbiting, and judging, which James condemns. This wrongful speak toward our brothers is speaking against the law, judging the law, i.e., “the law of liberty.” (Jam. 2:8, 12) Again, this “law of liberty” is a reference not to the Mosaic Law, but to the new covenant, in which the Father declared, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jer. 31:33) Christians are under the principles behind the Mosaic Law, not some lengthy code of rules and regulations, but rather under the inspired, inerrant Word of God, which enables them to know the will of the Father. (Matt. 7:21-23; 1 John 2:15-17; Gal. 5:1, 13-14) Wrongly, we place ourselves in the judgment seat with a critical and judgmental attitude. In this, we are setting aside God’s laws, inferring that they need not be obeyed. Christians are obligated to obey God’s Word, not be judgmental of it, so that we begin to rationalize or justify our violation of it. When we slander others, we are in opposition to the God of love (1 John 4:8) and suggest that we need not obey.
 Being personally wronged is dealing with minor things, such as bad behavior toward another. This is not dealing with spiritual, mental, or physical abuse, or crimes against another. These should be reported to the church leaders, and if a crime, to the police.