Friday, February 27, 2015

Speaking Against Your Neighbor

We investigate what the bible says about speaking negatively about others and speaking out of anger.

Series: Love Your Neighbor

The two greatest commandments are: 1) Love God, and 2) love your neighbor.

  • series #1 was about seeking and loving God
  • this series is about loving your neighbor

Mark 12: 28-31

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”

  • What was meant by “of all the commandments”?
    • not the 10 commandments, but over 300 that the Jews were to keep

The Commandments

Leviticus 19: 1-19

The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.

3 “‘Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God.

4 “‘Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.
5 “‘When you sacrifice a fellowship offering to the Lord, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf. 6 It shall be eaten on the day you sacrifice it or on the next day; anything left over until the third day must be burned up. 7 If any of it is eaten on the third day, it is impure and will not be accepted. 8 Whoever eats it will be held responsible because they have desecrated what is holy to the Lord; they must be cut off from their people.
9 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.
11 “‘Do not steal.
“‘Do not lie.
“‘Do not deceive one another.
12 “‘Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.
13 “‘Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.
“‘Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.
14 “‘Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord.
15 “‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.
16 “‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people.
“‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.
17 “‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.
18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

Deuteronomy 6: 3-7
6 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Review of Last Week

Last week we looked at “Judging Others

2 Dangers to the Church:
  • Grace without conviction
  • Legalism without love

We should be careful when we’re judging others because our own sin can blind our judgment (log in your eye)

Effect of judging others

  • Judging others brings judgment from God upon you.
  • Don't judge others is the corollary of forgiving others.

Why we judge others:

  • out of concern that the sinner will stray from God
  • to correct the sinner
  • because we think they’re better than the sinner
  • to make ourselves feel better
  • to justify ourselves because we have conquered that area
  • because we’re frustrated by what we’ve given up
    • only changed on the outside
  • because we don’t believe God loves us
    • guilt


What acts Jesus saw as important

Matt 25:35-46
  • clothing the unclothed
  • feeding the hungry
  • visiting prisoners in jail
  • inviting strangers into your home

Mark 12: 28-31
  • Love God
  • Love Your Neighbor

Don't tell people what they're doing wrong.  Tell people who they really are.
 --Todd White
  • judgment vs love
  • encouragement

Speaking Against Your Neighbor

James 4: 11-12

11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But youwho are you to judge your neighbor?

  • What is slander?
    • harming the reputation of another
  • What is “judging the law”?

Judging The Law

The phrase, "Judge the law" is a modern legal term that is used in association with Jury Nullification. defines it as "Jury Nullification is the term given to the process where the jury of a criminal case acquits the defendant regardless if he has broken the law in question. The jury would do this in a case where they judge the law to be unjust, therefore the jury can vote to find the defendant innocent since the jury found the law itself to be immoral, unfair, unjustly applied, or unconstitutional. By voting to acquit, the jury therefore nullifies the law." When we become judges of the law, we judge the law to be wrong, immoral, and unfair. We set ourselves above the law and not subject to the law. We grant ourselves power to nullify the law while at the same time feel no obligation to keep the law ourselves.

    • Deciding a law is not applicable in a certain situation is judging the law.
    • Deciding one law is more important than another is judging the law - ML
    • If we decide we can slander someone because they sinned then we have judged the law saying you can’t slander is not valid in this case
    • You can’t break the law to enforce the law.

Ephesians 4: 25-32

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 "In your anger do not sin"[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
  • Why does it say you should speak truthfully of your neighbor?
    • for we are members of the same body
    • So who is your neighbor?
  • What does the phrase “In your anger do not sin” mean?
  • What does it mean “do not give the devil a foothold”?
  • What does grieving the Holy Spirit mean?
    • to afflict with deep sorrow

James 1:19-27
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
  • What does it mean to be “quick to listen and slow to speak”?
  • What are the consequences of not watching your tongue?
    • your religion is worthless
  • Why do you deceive your own heart?
    • you thought you were religious
    • if you can’t bridle your tongue you aren’t religious

Matthew 12:34-37
34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
  • What does “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” mean?
  • What does this text say you’ll be judged by?
  • it's not about biting your tongue it's about changing your heart
    • legalism - obeying God from the outside in

T.H.I.N.K. before you speak

True:  Is what I am saying true?
Helpful: Is what I am saying helpful? (Ephesians 4:29)
Inspirational: Will what I say inspire the person to be closer to God and give glory to Him? (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Necessary: Is what I am saying necessary? (Proverbs 4:19) Sometimes it is best to hold your tongue.
Kind: Is what I am saying kind, does it build up?  (Colossians 4:6)      

2 Cor7: 8-13 
8 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— 9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. 12 So even though I wrote to you, it was neither on account of the one who did the wrong nor on account of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. 13 By all this we are encouraged.
  • How was the acronym T.H.I.N.K. applied here?
  • What does Godly sorrow bring?
  • What does worldly sorrow bring?
  • What’s the difference?
    • self seeking
    • motives: pride, jealousy, guilt, self righteousness

Paul had to confront the believers in the Corinthian church with their sin.  He had to speak truth in love (thus being helpful) because he did not want them to continue in their sin.  He also spoke words that inspired by showing them that even though his letter hurt them, it was only momentary, because their sorrow led to repentance (v.9) and then fruit because they changed their behavior (v.11).  His words were necessary because he wanted them to be in right relationship with God.  And he ended with kindness, encouraging them to see the ways God had changed them.  He wrote his letter so that they would be in right relationship with God.    

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on James 4:11-12
We are cautioned against the sin of evil-speaking: Speak not evil one of another, brethren, Jas. 4:11. The Greek word, katalaleite, signifies speaking anything that may hurt or injure another; we must not speak evil things of others, even if they’re true, unless we be called to it, and there be some necessary occasion for it.  Much less must we report evil things when they are false, or, for as well as we know, may be so. Our lips must be guided by the law of kindness, as well as truth and justice.
Since Christians are brethren, they should not defile nor defame one another. It is required of us that we be tender of the good name of our brethren; where we cannot speak well, we had better say nothing than speak evil; we must not take pleasure in making known the faults of others, divulging things that are secret, merely to expose them, nor in making more of their known faults than really they deserve, and, least of all, in making false stories, and spreading things concerning them of which they are altogether innocent. What is this but to raise the hatred and encourage the persecutions of the world, against those who are engaged in the same interests with ourselves, and therefore with whom we ourselves must stand or fall? “Consider, you are brethren.” 2. Because this is to judge the law: He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law. The law of Moses says, Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer among thy people, Lev. 19 16. The law of Christ is, Judge not, that you be not judged, Matt. 7:1. The sum and substance of both is that men should love one another. A detracting tongue therefore condemns the law of God, and the commandment of Christ, when it is defaming its neighbour. To break God’s commandments is in effect to speak evil of them, and to judge them, as if they were too strict, and laid too great a restraint upon us. ... He who quarrels with his brother, and condemns him for the sake of anything not determined in the word of God, does thereby reflect on that word of God, as if it were not a perfect rule. Let us take heed of judging the law, for the law of the Lord is perfect; if men break the law, leave that to judge them; if they do not break it, let us not judge them.” This is a heinous evil, because it is to forget our place, that we ought to be doers of the law, and it is to set up ourselves above it, as if we were to be judges of it. He who is guilty of the sin here cautioned against is not a doer of the law, but a judge; he assumes an office and a place that do not belong to him, and he will be sure to suffer for his presumption in the end. Those who are most ready to set up for judges of the law generally fail most in their obedience to it. 3. Because God, the Lawgiver, has reserved the power of passing the final sentence on men wholly to himself: There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save, and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?


  • It’s a sin to hurt the reputation of (slander) a fellow Christian
  • You can’t break the law to enforce the law
  • Do not let your anger cause you to say something sinful
  • If you can’t control your tongue your religion is worthless
  • The goal isn’t just to control your tongue, but to change your heart
  • Obeying God should happen from the inside out
  • T.H.I.N.K. before you speak

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