Larry Hunt's Bible Commentary

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James 4

Vs. 11-12:  This should be read in conjunction with Matthew 7:1-5: “Judge not, that you be not judged….”  Obviously, we must make judgments about other people, both for their sakes and our own (John 7:24); the kind of judgment condemned by Jesus and James is the sort that is motivated by pride.  When we judge with this evil, proud judgment, we delight in recognizing fault in others because this recognition leads to a feeling that we are of greater worth than those we are judging.  Such a feeling is wicked in itself and makes it more difficult to recognize our own glaring faults, the beams in our own eyes.

The law is summed up in the two commandments to love God and our neighbor.  When we judge others proudly, we are not loving our neighbor or God; thus, we are also judging (i.e., rejecting as worthless) the essence of the law by showing, in our actions, our contempt for these two commandments.

v. 16:  He who speaks in the way that James condemns here is boasting, not simply planning in a general sense.  God has placed us within time and has given us minds; thus, he expects us to make plans for the future.  It is easy, however, for us to take our future for granted, as if we deserve by nature the power and opportunity to do whatever we wish without any reference to God.  This is what is evil.

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