Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you to judge your neighbor?A short passage, but one requiring some head-scratching. It won't do to read "speak against a brother" too narrowly, as James has already been speaking (or writing, anyway) against his brothers earlier in this same book, and is going to do so again before he's finished. Pairing it with "judges his brother" provides, I think, a clue as to how to read this. It seems to me that this gives "speaking against" a condemnatory flavor, as in helping to prosecute. Then, too, there's the parallel treatment of our brothers with the law: also a head-scratcher. To speak against one, or to judge one, is to judge the other. Well, what does my brother have in common with the law? The plainest and most immediate common factor that springs to mind is that both are the creations of the Living God. As the law is holy, so too is your brother (and sister, as I hope it goes without saying) holy: an image of God. They are to be treated accordingly, with care and respect.
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