“You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that 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 5:21-22 ESV)
Read the Bible a few times in different formats and orders and it is amazing what will stick out to you. Last week while using YouVersion’s Bible app on my phone, the Sermon on the Mount was read. We’ve heard about the Beatitudes, Salt, Light, and Christ coming to Fulfill the Law. How many of miss verses 21-22? Upon hearing these two verses read, pause was immediately pressed. Just reading them now, probably has caused you to stop what you are doing in horror.
Are you thinking back to the last time you said something terse to a family member, a friend, or a co-worker? Idiot! Dummy! Stupid! Useless! All things that come out of our mouth in fustration and we say them with reckless regard for the damage inflicted on others. Here we thought, only sticks and stones broke bones, but surely words would never hurt. Numerous research studies have proved otherwise since that old rhyme was learned by children over the years.
No, we know words do more damage than we ever thought. Words have led to murder, beatings, and suicide. Even as they led to these things, we assured ourselves that the consequences of using hurtful words like this didn’t apply to us. However, Jesus clear says the way of thinking is wrong.
Jesus says, “whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says. ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” Notice there isn’t any “if’s”, “and’s”, or “but’s” in Jesus’ words. So, that means when the person cuts you off while driving, when your kids make some astronomically bad decision, or when your friends and family rub you the wrong way… there is literally no excuse for name calling.
By now as those of you, who desire to be Christ Followers, Disciples of Christ, have realized reading your Bible is a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because you are revealed God’s Will for us. The curse is you are revealed God’s Will for us and that means you must turn away from the sinful things you used to participate in and turn back to God. Today, that means we need to lean on the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5, namely patience, self-control, love, and gentleness. We are called as body of Christ to not live and acts the broken world does, but to realize we are set aside, holy, for the purpose of giving glory to God and spreading His Gospel message.
Jesus is the best example we will ever have in that he always approach people in love and rarely called anyone names, EVEN when the deserved it. Your challenge today Christ Followers is to change your speech. Speak in love and not hate. Seek heaven by not playing the name calling game which only leads to the hell of fire.
Merciful Father, we come to you as a people who have fallen in love with breaking others down with name calling. We have forgotten the words of our Savior, whom you sent for our sake. We realize that we have wrong our friends and family through name callling. We realize that we have misrepresented You and the new life that You have blessed us with to live to Your Glory. Gracious Father send Your Holy Spirit to work on us, in us, and through us. May Your Spirit bring you to the forefront of our minds, hearts, and especially to our tongues to You Alone be All the Glory. Amen