Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Careless Words

"I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again anyone who says to a brother or sister 'Raca' is answerable to the court and anyone who says 'You fool' will be in danger of the fire of hell.   Matthew 5:22 NIV.

It's hard to scroll through Face Book posts or to listen to or read the news without experiencing a war of words. Though I write primarily to Christians, these words of Jesus apply to all (FYI-in Jesus' day there weren't any Christians).

Raca is a word of utter contempt. It labels someone as intellectually empty-headed. The Message Bible clarifies the point. "If you call someone an idiot." The Holman Study Bible adds more flavor, "But whoever says 'You Moron' will be subject to Hellfire."

Idiot...moron...Jesus took name calling seriously. The verse in Matthew demands our attention and obedience. Just because our country, for now, affords citizens free speech, Christians cannot abrogate their responsibility to, "speak the truth in love." Ephesians 4:15. Much of what is passed off as truth fails the smell test.

For myself, I prefer to avoid judgment, being hauled before the court and of course, hellfire. Careless words aren't worth it. I doubt Jesus referred to the court systems here on earth; they have no jurisdiction over hell. I can respectfully disagree with someone's viewpoint or action without vilifying them.

"Do not judge or you too will be judged. For the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and the  measure you use, it will be measured to you" Matthew 7:1-3

This passage isn't an admonition or an excuse to have no opinion or thoughts. What matters is how those opinions and thoughts are expressed. I'm free to judge what is right and wrong but not to condemn and tear down personally those who think differently than me. It would be better if all of us, myself included, took Jesus' words in Matthew 5:22 at face value. We will face serious consequences for the words we speak.

How about you? Are there words you can afford to eliminate from your vocabulary? How can you express a difference of opinion or belief without demonizing those who oppose your views? How can you speak the truth in love in a way that builds up and doesn't tear down? What can you say that helps others realize their God given potential and purpose as opposed to a scorched earth method of correction? Here's something to think about. Who renders the judgment and where is the court that Jesus talked about?


  1. Good stuff! I like it. I need it! Thanks for writing. Help me, Lord!

  2. Good stuff! I like it. I need it! Thanks for writing. Help me, Lord!

  3. Mary: This speaks to me. Thank you for your ministry through the written word.