Summary: James tells us why we must not slander one another. 1- Slandering makes you a judge of others 2- Slandering makes you above the law 3- Slandering makes you above the lawgiver
INTRO.- ILL.- Who said, “Read my lips. No new taxes”? "Read my lips: no new taxes" is the famous phrase spoken by then presidential candidate George H. W. Bush at the 1988 Republican National Convention as he accepted the nomination on August 18th. Written by speechwriter Peggy Noonan, the line was the most prominent sound bite from the speech.
ILL.- What part of “no” do you not understand? Who said those words? We don’t know for sure. This phrase has been repeated or quoted thousands of times. Or variations of it.
ILL.- Popular country music song, written by Wayne Perry and Gerald Smith, and recorded by Lorrie Morgan:
What part of no don’t you understand?
To put it plain and simple
I’m not into one night stands
I’ll be glad to explain it
If it’s too hard to comprehend
So tell me what part of no
Don’t you understand?
Our text could say, “what part of “do not” do you not understand?”
Do not slander. What is slandering? It can be called many things such as: backstabbing, mud-slinging, bad-mouthing, and it could also include condemning someone. Whatever it is, it doesn’t sound good from the pages of scripture.
ILL.- William Cowper (English poet) said, “He that slanders me paints me blacker than I am, and he that flatters me, whiter. They both daub me, and when I look in the mirror of conscience, I see myself disguised by both.” Interesting.
Another way to look at slander is this:
ILL.- When a newspaper published a false and misleading account about a certain man, the man went to Dr. Edward Everett (American politician and educator from MASS) to ask what action Everett would recommend. After listening patiently to the man’s complaints, Everett said, “My dear sir, do nothing about it. Half the people who buy that paper never saw the article about you. Half the people who did see it failed to read. Half the people who did read it failed to understand it. Half of those who did understand it know you and refused to believe it. Half of those who believed it were people of no consequence anyway.” GOOD ANSWER, I WOULD SAY.
Most of the time slander means little except to the person who spreads it!
PROP.- James tells us why we must not slander one another.
1- Slandering makes you a judge of others
2- Slandering makes you above the law
3- Slandering makes you above the lawgiver
I. SLANDERING MAKES YOU A JUDGE OF OTHERS
11 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him...
ILL.- It is said that the Sioux Indians used to make this prayer, “Great Spirit, help me never to judge another until I have walked two weeks in his moccasins.”
There may be something to that little prayer. It’s the idea, of course, that we really never know what a person is going through in life and if we ever had the opportunity to live their life for two weeks perhaps we wouldn’t be so quick to judge them or be critical toward them.
Many people are quick to make statements about others and they may not have any basis at all for what they say.
ILL.- Let me give you an example. Elaine and I watched the St. Louis Cardinals a lot last year. She called their manager, Tony La Russa, “Smiley.” Do you know why? She seldom ever sees him smile, so obviously she’s been sarcastic. Of course, there may be a very good reason why he doesn’t smile very often, that is, when his team isn’t winning.
And it’s easy for us to judge him just by the fact that they show him on TV in dugout, looking depressed. In real life or life outside the ball park he may be a great guy! But this is the way we tend to judge people without even really knowing them.
ILL.- Here’s another example. There is a young lady that works in the lunch room at the Craighead Nursing Center. I call her “Red.” Do you know why? Yes, she’s redheaded and I figure she’s probably hot-headed as well. Now you know as well as I do that’s not a fair judgment at all. It’s strictly based on the fact that she’s a redheaded gal.
Again, this is the way we tend to judge others. We may see one little side of them and automatically assume something about them which may not be true at all.
ILL.- Paulo Coelho (Brazilian novelist): “We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.”
We really know only our own path. And often we think ours is the only way to go or live and this is why we tend to judge others. We may always think we’re always right. And people who think they are always right or always have the right answers will always judge others critically.