Encourage, Don’t Slander, One Another

“not abandoning our own meeting together, as is the habit of some people, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)

“Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sisteror 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.” (James 4:11)

Positive encouragement is a great part of loving others but there is also the refraining from negative actions and reactions toward others that strengthens our love for one another.

I shared in last week’s post about the form of encouragement known as “spurring one another on,” that encouragement comes in many forms…one of those is in the form of a negative command that The Lord calls us to not simply encourage each other but to be sure that we are not slandering or tearing others down. How are you doing when it comes to encouragement vs slander?  

In this message we’ll look at 2 “one anothers” as one of them is a continuation of last week’s command and a repeat of several others, showing its importance. Paul reminds us, as He exhorts us to not forsake our assembling together in loving fellowship, that we are to once again “encourage one another” in Hebrews 10:25. So let’s look for ways to encourage other believers especially when it comes to gathering together in order to build up the loving fellowship of all believers…we need this now as much if not more than ever!

This is not just meeting for weekend services, although that is certainly an important part of it as the writer of Hebrews reminds us. This also includes, as it would have in Biblical times, gathering in small groups, homes and other fellowship meetings to encourage one another and build Godly relationships that lovingly hold us accountable to The Lord and to each other in His Love. Be constantly looking for opportunities to do so…and then make it happen.

Whatever you do don’t get caught up in being guilty of ignoring our second “one another” in this post…

This “one another” is from James, the half-brother of Jesus and elder of the Church at Jerusalem. In James 4:11 he instructs us under the guidance of The Holy Spirit, “…Do not slander one another.” You think maybe as the head of the young church in Jerusalem that James may have encountered the human nature found in all of us that tends to pull and tear others down…even among believers? This is the antithesis of encouragement…which is why I’m sharing these two “one anothers” together…what we are called to do and what we are called not to do.

My precious late Mother, along with my Dad, used to say to my brother, sister and I something we’ve likely all heard, “If you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything at all.” This would certainly help us to not slander or tear others down, especially other believers.

This does not mean we avoid speaking hard Truths that must be shared or we are not loving but it does mean we never intentionally speak harm to or about others but as we’ve been commanded elsewhere we build one another up in Christ.

I find it very compelling that this text comes right after James 4:10 in which we are instructed to humble ourselves before The Lord. Without humility we will find ourselves slandering and tearing each other down under the guise of “pointing out faults” or “for prayer.” May we humble ourselves and choose not to slander our brothers and sisters in Christ!

Have you ever been the target of slander from other believers? Did you respond in kind or did you humbly pray and forgive? Do you find yourself in weak moments saying things that tear others down (slander them)? How can we intentionally choose to encourage rather than slander?

I doubt there is one of us that has not at some point been guilty of slandering someone else. I know I have. We need to seek forgiveness when we are caught in those moments when we choose to tear someone down because it has been done to us or we fail to lift and build them up…encourage them…as we are called to do. This requires humility to lift someone up and not slander or tear them down…or bring them down to my level. Let’s seek The Lord and His

Spirit to help us once again as a powerful way of loving others to encourage and build them up by Your grace and for Your Glory!

Food for Thought…When has someone encouraged you and others to help build up the group or community of believers? What do you do when given the opportunity to encourage others? Slander only serves to destroy or tear down others and the Body of Christ? What’s been your experience with slander…and the outcomes?

Action Steps…

  1. Spend time with God and in His Word and prayer every day…begin with the Scriptures in this episode.
  2. Ask The Holy Spirit to teach you.
  3. When have you seen the results of encouragement and slander on the community of believers? How have either or both impacted you?
  4. What can you do in your fellowship of believers to ensure that you’re encouraging others and refraining from slander even when others do so?  

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