Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? (James 4:11-12)
I was enjoying some online Christian fellowship recently with several other saints. We were having conversations about creation vs. evolution, about the ministry of prophets; and some of us prayed for those who had requested prayer. Things were going well for quite a while until one brother who had been engaging in some tirade about how prophecy is never doom and gloom, never warns, never says anything people should already know, etc., decided to check out one of my Web sites, the one on the ministry of New Testament prophets. He then came back to where we all were talking and started attacking me for being part of the National Gay Pentecostal Alliance, and telling all kinds of lies about supporting the so-called homosexual lifestyle and accusing me of being in sin because of being part of “the gay church.” Then, of course, a few others decided they had to jump on the “attack the homosexual” bandwagon. Up until that point, I was just another brother in Christ who — according to many in the room — had been very helpful, kind, knowledgeable, etc. I had, in fact, behaved better than most of those who were there and that did not go unnoticed. Once I was outed there (not that I had denied being homosexual up to that point), none of my Christian witness mattered. None of the truths of God’s word that I had shared mattered. All that mattered was that I was some evil person bound for the lake of fire because of being homosexual.
Our text makes it clear that we are not to speak evil of one another. To do so is not only to speak evil of a brother or sister in Christ, but to speak evil of the very commands of God as well. We are also not to judge — meaning to condemn — one another, because to do so is to judge or condemn the very commands of God. Why so many Christians feel the need to commit sin because there is a homosexual present is beyond me. The aforementioned brother lied about me and about NGPA. He accused me of engaging in certain behaviors and of supporting such behaviors despite the fact that I am celibate and affirm the Bible’s own view that sex outside of marriage is sin. Nothing I said mattered. My calm, gentle, non-accusatory manner did not matter. My words and behavior prior to the start of that brother’s attacks did not matter. He, and the others who jumped on the bandwagon, would only believe what they wanted to believe — what they had been taught to believe: that homosexuals engage in all kinds of sexual perversion, that homosexuality caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, that homosexuality is an abomination, that whole civilizations have fallen because they allowed homosexuality, and – especially – that a person cannot be a homosexual and be saved.
You might wonder why I engage in Christian fellowship online. Well, there is not an NGPA church where I live. I am not welcome at the only Apostolic church in town because I am homosexual. If I go to a non-Apostolic church, I will be receiving unbiblical teaching. If it’s a Bible-believing church I would have to go back into the closet to be involved there. So, I get what fellowship I can get online. The Lord has used me to help others, to share the truth of His word, and to pray for others — things we all need to be doing as Christians. So, I am at least serving some purpose in the kingdom of God while I’m here in Niagara Falls waiting on Him to send me elsewhere. If I have to be here until He sends me elsewhere like He said He would, I might as well be doing some work for Him.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for us to behave as Jesus behaved. We need to set the example in the face of stupidity and ignorance and hostility. Our righteous lives are a witness against those who behave unrighteously. It’s unfortunate that so many of those who behave unrighteously happen to be part of the body of Christ. Our text tells us not to speak evil of one another or condemn one another. It is not our place to do so. There is one lawgiver, one judge, and that is the God we serve: who are we to try to take His place? We must love as He loves and forgive as He forgives. Do I hear an amen?
Author, educator, theologian and scholar Rev. Chancellor Carlyle Roberts II was ordained a minister of the National Gay Pentecostal Alliance and has served as a pastor, Bible teacher and Sunday school teacher. He earned a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies (religion and special education) and a graduate certificate in global studies and is the author of God in Three What? An Examination of the Use of Persons in the Trinity Doctrine, We Believe: A Commentary on the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381 A.D., Pure As He Is Pure: My Struggle With Homosexuality and Homesick.