Almost everyone has ears, but Jesus knew that not everyone listens or understands. In fact, in many cases, the people were not even trying to understand. They were there for the show, for healing and deliverance, fish and bread, but not to learn the lessons that could set them free. I’ve been to church services where the people shouted from start to finish, and a good time was had by all, but when I asked them afterward what the message was about, they had no idea. I’ve heard people say, “I don’t know what he said, but I sure liked the way he said it!”
Apparently, James heard that certain members of local churches were guilty of criticizing one another, slandering one another, and judging one another, so James writes in no uncertain terms that this is wrong. I believe James is telling us that it is wrong to think we know what another person is going through or understand the pain the drives their actions. It is wrong to assume we can see a person’s heart and know their motives. It is wrong to judge another person when we have never taken the time to talk with them, weep with them or pray with them. James addresses this issue head on in verse 11 and 12.