Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor? (James 4:11-12)
Relate: One of the most common responses I hear in my classroom when I ask a student to stop talking is, “What about _(insert name)_? She was talking a second ago.” This drives me nuts. I am not concerned in that moment with adding to discussion. What I want right then is for the distraction to end. The rule is in place so the class can have the best learning environment possible. I don’t need a student to judge what the other students should and should not be doing. I will deal with each student individually. The class functions best, and the students learn the most, when each student follows the rules without trying to judge one another.
This is similar to the message James was bringing to the church community. Members of the church will grow in their spiritual walks and learn to follow after God if they do not worry about judging those around them. We simply need to obey God because God’s commands provide the best for us. If we are busy judging, we are detracting from the focus of what God wants to do in our lives and through the church.
React: God’s plan is best for our lives. It is for God to judge and us to follow after Him. I know it can be easy to look at others and make decisions on how they should live differently. However, this is rarely beneficial to anyone involved. The best for us comes through following God’s commands: Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 NLT)
I am going to work on obeying what God speaks to me; God knows how to deal with each individual. His promptings through the word and the spirit create the best possible growing environment for our lives.
Dear God, You are a good father. I thank you that I can trust your words. You know me better than anyone else, and I believe you want the best for your children. Help me focus on you and your guiding rather than those around me. Help me to follow your command, and your example, to love. Amen.