Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Stoking the Fire!

After teaching the people the Beatitudes, Jesus taught them the higher law. He explained that the old law directed that a man should not commit adultery, but the new law commanded that people shouldn’t even have lustful thoughts. He explained that the old law directed that killing is wrong, but the new law commanded that people shouldn’t be angry with one another. He went on to explain this law by saying, “Whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:22).

Obviously murder is evil, but Jesus is teaching that the anger which that leads to it is also evil. But the intent is more poignant when we dig a little deeper into the meaning. The Greek word used in the original manuscripts for brother is gender neutral so it should be translated “brother or sister” and the word Raca is most commonly believed to be the Aramaic word reka which literally means "empty one", but probably was used as a pejorative term meaning "empty head" or "foolish."

Putting this in modern terms, this is like saying that calling someone, “Stupid!” puts you in danger of a having to go before a bishop’s council, and saying, “You fool,” is putting you in danger of damnation. Pretty strong! As a matter of fact, that seems too strong to many people, but part of what we are being taught here is that words have power to hurt not only the person they are directed at but the person saying them. We all realize that emotions generate words, but what we don’t often stop to think about is that words also generate emotions. This means that the words we choose to use when negative emotions start to swell in us can either douse the fire or spray additional fuel on the already smoldering emotions.

This is just one of the places in scripture that indicate that we need to watch the words we use because words have eternal consequences.

1 comment:

Becky Rose said...

Love this- so true! Wish I would of learned it sooner!