Today’s devotion builds on the thoughts from Sunday’s Sermon – Week 2 of “Fan or Follower – Value Life” (LISTEN HERE).
Ever called someone “Raca”?
Ever told someone, “You fool!”
Ever think doing this could put you before a court or land you in the fires of hell?
Jesus gets us thinking about what we are saying.
Matthew 5:22 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.
At first read, we maybe dismiss Jesus’ words and say, “He’s exaggerating.” But they are shocking in their sternness which must lead us to pause and understand what would be the connection between calling a brother, “Raca” or telling someone, “You fool.”
First, these aren’t joking words. These are insults.
“Raca” has the connotation of “blockhead.” Someone who is brainless, stupid, and incapable congruent thought. The word maybe seems silly to us, but it would indicate anger or hatred brewing in the heart. Perhaps we might call it today, “hate speech” which could end up with us being dismissed from our job or even brought on charges before a court. It was serious because it was used in Jesus day as an expression of anger or hatred toward another person’s life.
Similar with “You fool.” The Psalms call a person a “fool” who believes there is no God. The Greek term translated fool is “moron.” Again not only an attack on one’s intellect, but also on their character. It indicated they were not a person of integrity, faith grounding, or moral compass. Again, words that came from a heart of hatred and bitterness.
Bottom line, it’s just not loving, uplifting, or expressing value and appreciation for the other person’s life. And if it’s not love, comes from a heart of hate, and devalues the life of another, it is murder. And no one who continues in murderous activity or thought, will enter eternal life. So, Jesus words are accurate. A heart full of hate is a heart headed to hell.
1 John 3:14-15 Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
Tough teaching for us today, but the reason Jesus gives it to us is because he loves us like he loved Cain. “Sin is crouching at your door. Watch out or it will master you.” Anyone who loves us is willing to warn us. Jesus does both. Because he desires the Spirit of God to master your heart and drive out any bitterness, rage or anger, that may not lead to physical murder, but certainly have murdered a person in our mind.
Ephesians 4:31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ultimately, Jesus exposes sin in our heart to bring healing to our heart. When we struggle to love, we have Jesus who loved us and loved perfectly for us. He spoke from the cross words of forgiveness and love to those he had every right to call “Raca” or “You Fool” but instead said, “You’re forgiven.”
Luke 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
He does the same for you.
Apply: What relationships tempt your heart to fire off insults? What happens when you view that person through the lens of Christ’s love and forgiveness?
Prayer: Father, thank you for affirming your love for us when you have every right to call us “Raca” and “You fool.” Move us with your love to do the same for those around us. AMEN.