Today's Word of Encouragement
Monday, June 08, 2020
. . . everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire (Matthew 5:22).
Jesus began the application of the moral Law with the true meaning and intent of the 6th Commandment - You shall not kill (Exodus 20:13). This commandment addresses the problem of anger, which defines how ‘kill’ should be understood. It does not apply to military responsibility or even personal defense against violent aggression. It applies to taking the life of a person in anger, malice, or with an intention to murder him.
The word ‘angry’ (orgidzo) can mean: 1) indignant or incensed; a rational anger resulting from an injustice, abuse, or inequity, or 2) enrage, incensed, livid; an irrational and emotionally charged anger usually without just cause. Jesus used the 2nd definition by saying a person who is enraged, incensed, or livid at another person, ‘without cause’ (in the Greek text), should be punished. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer (1 John 3:15).
The word ‘insult’ (raca) means ‘empty-headed’, ‘stupid’, or ‘worthless’. Addressing another person with such contempt makes one 'liable to the council' (Sanhedrin), meaning such an offense is worthy of the greatest punishment that can be meted out by the highest court in the land. God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).
The word ‘fool’ (moros) means more than one who lacks understanding. Raca expresses contempt for the head. Moros expresses contempt for the heart (life). Calling a person a fool is saying he is a godless person. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). To regard someone as a godless person is to condemn him. The penalty for such contempt is the greatest punishment possible, hell (Gehenna) of fire. Gehenna (the Valley of Hinnom) was the place where idolatrous Jews offered their children as sacrifices to the pagan god Molech (2 Kings 23:10).
The Jews believed the 6th Commandment could be violated by a single act of premeditated murder. Jesus taught that the true meaning of the commandment includes: 1) unjust anger, 2) anger with contempt, and 3) anger with contempt and spiritual condemnation.
Christians are called to love one another (John 13:34-35), to love our neighbors (Mark 12:3), and to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). To love others to this extent is beyond us. This expression of love can only be achieved by the love of Jesus Christ working in us and through us to love others as God has loved us.
“Father, continue working in me in this area of loving others. I am too quick to judge people for what they say or do, when I should be patient and appreciate people for who they are and what they can contribute to my life and ministry. Compel me to honor this word from Jesus and refrain from irrational, emotionally charged anger. Enlarge my heart to love even my enemies so that they may know the love that You have for them through me. Amen.”