James 4:11–12 is one of those Bible passages that doesn’t need much study or explanation to get its meaning: “Don’t criticize each other.”

Any questions?

James says it in an almost in-your-face kind of way, a straight-for-the-heart admonition in see-through wrapping. As a leader in the church, and as a fallible man himself, James was fully aware of the damage a thoughtless word of criticism could do. It’s as if he were saying, “Don’t even go there.”

The warning is still viable. Words of correction are sometimes needed, even words of rebuke have their place. But criticism? Never. Never helpful. Never needed. Just … don’t.


Don’t criticize one another, brothers and sisters.
Anyone who defames or judges a fellow believer defames and judges the law.
If you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy.
But who are you to judge your neighbor?
(James 4:11-12 CSB)