Listen to today’s devo!

Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. (James 4:11)

Expanded Passage: James 4:11

I’ve always been a fan of using rhymes, songs, or alliteration to remember classroom concepts. Maybe you do this too. A friend shared a flashback from Bible Bowl days: General Electric Power Corporation is how they learned to quickly find Paul’s epistles to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. In a business law course, the mnemonic device I used to remember the difference between slander and libel is slander is spoken; libel is literary.

Legal definitions separate the difference between the spoken word (slander) and the printed word (libel). When James admonished believers not to slander one another, he did so with another law in mind—God’s law. The word used here for slander means to “talk against.” He said to talk against or judge another is to talk against or judge God’s law. Wisdom is knowing that if we are in no position to speak against or judge God’s law, then we are in no position to slander or judge his people. James calls us to be doers of the law, not critics or judges of it. He calls us to refrain from speaking evil against others.

Slander has no place in a believer’s rhetoric. If we find ourselves wanting to speak against someone, we should stop and consider James’ argument that speaking against a person is speaking against God.

Remember that words are powerful and slandering people slanders God.

Priscilla Hammond is an ordained pastor and associate professor in the Benson School of Business at Southern Wesleyan University (SC).

© 2024 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.