You Fool ?
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[b][c] will be subject to judgment. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. (Matthew 5:21)
In Matthew 5 -7, called the sermon on the mount, Jesus teaches how his followers are to live. He starts by describing the effects of spiritual rebirth and then goes on to describe what that new life should look like.
Jesus opens this verse referring to what they had heard concerning the Old Testament moral law. Some teach Old Testament moral laws no longer apply yet in reality Jesus amplifies and builds on them. Here he is referring to the accepted understanding of the verse by saying “what you have heard". His statement “but I tell you" indicates the teachings were incomplete. They addressed only the external nature of the command which was not to commit murder and gave no thought to the source of the problem. Here Jesus is telling us that just because we don’t commit murder doesn’t mean we’re not guilty. God knows the truth in our hearts. When pride leads to anger that seeks to tear down, and the tongue is used as a weapon to destroy, it reveals a murderous heart. Often we use anger and words of criticism deceitfully, to appear more righteous than others. If you are a true follower of Christ, then he has placed his Spirit in you and called you away from such evil to do good.
Jesus is not talking about counseling or confronting sinful behavior with the intent of teaching and protecting from evil. He is certainly not condemning corrective discipline to help lead someone away from sin. This is an act of love. But to make sport of tearing someone apart or to lash out in a temper tantrum with no good intentions is evil and brings judgment on ourselves.
We may think little of a few careless words or what’s behind our anger but Jesus warns that these things reveal the heart. The things we say and do should reveal a heart for Christ and others. An evil tongue brings the danger of judgment and Hell. Jesus is teaching us to consider carefully our motivations concerning what we think, say and do. The Bible teaches that the tongue must be controlled and the great need to understand the scriptures in order to guard our heart from all evil. “15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,” (Ephesians 5:15). As Christians we must ask, are we reflecting Christ? Are our words evil or good?
This is part of the ongoing theme of dying to self. Where we leave our old lives behind and imitate Christ. Where we relate compassionately to others to do good and share the gospel, God’s offer of eternal life. “For we are God’s handiwork, created( in Christ Jesus to do good works,” (Ephesians 2:10) Come!
Colby Reeves - member
Evangel Church PCA – All are welcome
423 Thompson Rd., Alabaster
evangelchurchpca.org - worship live or online – see website