But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Matthew 5:22 NABRE
Jesus provides several examples on how to surpass righteousness. He is speaking to His disciples about killing, those who kill will be judged. Jesus is not only concerned about killing but about the attitudes and actions that lead to killing. Everything that is an obstacle to unconditional love is something that Jesus wants to remove from the hearts and minds of people. Killing is against the law, but Jesus goes beyond the law, calling people to avoid anger and critical speech intended to wound another person or destroy relationships. Whoever is angry with or dishonors another by calling them “Raga” (meaning imbecile or idiot) or you fool, will face severe punishment. The use of Gehenna indicates a punishment beyond imagination. Gehenna: in Hebrew gê-hinnom, meaning “Valley of the son of Hinnom,” is southwest of Jerusalem, the center of an idolatrous cult during the monarchy in which children were offered in sacrifice. The concept of punishment of sinners by fire either after death or after the final judgment is found in Jewish literature. Jesus uses Gehenna as a kind of description of a hellish end to those who are deemed to be sent there. So for Jesus even thinking angrily about another is a significant breaking of the moral code by which Jesus wants us to live.
It is the heart that is most important to Jesus. It happens often, we use gossip and innuendo to undercut the reputation of another who has offended or undermined us in some way. Work to keep your heart pure and you will be one of the righteous.
Do you call others names? Are you easier angered at another?It is the heart that is most important to Jesus. Work to keep your heart pure and you will be one of the righteous. Click To Tweet
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