Today's Reading: Matthew 5-7
But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, 'You fool,' you will be liable to the hell of fire. Matthew 5: 22 NRSV
Good thing that Jesus isn't talking about strangers but brothers and sisters in Christ. Otherwise, I would be in trouble after driving around town.
However, I have heard some members of the same church practically calling each other fools. Sometimes there seems to be no love lost between people who worship together yet are perpetually angry with one another. And I don't think many church goers would withhold calling other church goers -- or their pastors for that matter -- idiots or fools.
Jesus addresses such behavior directly and puts it all in perspective for his followers (i.e. us church goers). The Ten Commandments say not to murder. Jesus says, in fulling the law, that it isn't just about not murdering another human being and dismissing their life. It is about respecting them as people. Calling another person names is not respecting the other person.
And even though Jesus is speaking of our brothers and sisters in Christ, he later goes on to say that we must pray for our enemies rather than curse them.
Perhaps Jesus is saying we should also not be disrespectful of those outside the church, including strangers driving other cars on the roads. Ouch.
God, you ask us to respect human life. Help us to see how we can be disrespectful with our attitudes and the words coming out of our mouths. May we follow your commandments. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims