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Resolving Racism Bible Study (RRBS)- Part 3 of Many

I used to get a chance to host and participate in an annual dating seminar.  What great fun to get to share some wisdom to college students who were hopeful that they would meet Mr. or Mrs. Right soon.  We used to say that it is almost a 100% chance that you will marry somebody you date.  First comes love, then comes marriage then someone is pushing a baby carriage.  Isn’t love a fun and funny thing?

‘But what about hate?  There is nothing funny about hate.  First come anger, then comes hate, disdain and belittling and sometimes murder.  I know that most of us stop short of murder.  What if I told you that not every angry person commits murder, but every murderer has an anger problem?  And even those who never succumb to the act of killing someone assassinate the character of those they disagree with all the time.  Don’t believe me?  Toggle between Fox news and CNN any night of the week and get a good dose of what we think about one another.  Let me give you a personal example.

“What an idiot”, I exclaimed.  Even as the words came out of my mouth, I realized that I was violating the passage we are talking about today.  Anger, disdain, and belittling. Oh, I didn’t murder anybody, but the way I felt at the time- my opponent was beneath me and I had a desire to crush them and their unworthy opinion.  Even to the degree that I was willing to show this despicable attitude in public in front of my family.  Great example, huh? How is it that after following the Lord for over 30 years now that I can still succumb to such vile disrespect of someone that God has made in His image.

That is what the passage is about today.  Not just vile actions but vile attitudes as well.  In my opinion, that is what I see playing out in the public squares today- the vile attitudes that have festered over many years.  Jesus says that the mouth speaks from that which is in the heart.  Justified as these attitudes may seem they are contrary to God’s word.  It is one thing to have bad attitudes, but festering emotions sooner or later come to the surface.  And then your heart translates out into your actions.  You may say it is just part of being human.  I say we need a little bit more of the divine.  At least I do.

Look at Matthew 5

5:21      “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’   

22       “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell

Matthew 5

Let’s make some observations

  • The ancients were told we are not to commit murder
  • If someone commits murder, they are accountable to the courts
  • Jesus contrast murder with anger
  • The murderer is liable to the court… the angry one is guilty before the court
  • Question- is murder the same as anger?
  • The one who says ‘you good-for-nothing’ is guilty before the supreme court
  • The one who says ‘you fool’ shall be guilty enough to go to hell

One of my favorite Greek dictionaries is Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words by W.E. Vine.  I will use this reference book from time to time to help shed some light about the original language.  Vines defines the Greek word RACA (which is the Greek word we translated ‘you good-for-nothing’).  He also touches on the word ‘you fool’ in this passage which is the Greek word MOROS.

raka (ῥακά , (4469)) is an Aramaic word akin to the Heb. rêq, empty, the first a being due to a Galilaean change. In the A.V. of 1611 it was spelt racha; in the edition of 1638, raca. It was a word of utter contempt, signifying empty, intellectually rather than morally, empty–headed, like Abimelech’s hirelings, Judg. 9:4, and the “vain” man of Jas. 2:20. As condemned by Christ, Matt. 5:22, it was worse than being angry, inasmuch as an outrageous utterance is worse than a feeling unexpressed or somewhat controlled in expression; it does not indicate such a loss of self–control as the word rendered “fool,” a godless, moral reprobate.

Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words

mōros (μωρός , (3474)) primarily denotes dull, sluggish (from a root muh, to be silly); hence, stupid, foolish; it is used (a) of persons, Matt. 5:22, “Thou fool;” here the word means morally worthless, a scoundrel, a more serious reproach than “Raca;” the latter scorns a man’s mind and calls him stupid; mōros scorns his heart and character; hence the Lord’s more severe condemnation; in 7:26, “a foolish man;” 23:17, 19, “fools;” 25:2, 3, 8, “foolish;” in 1 Cor. 3:18, “a fool;” the Apostle Paul uses it of himself and his fellow–workers, in 4:10, “fools” (i.e., in the eyes of opponents); (b) of things, 2 Tim. 2:23, “foolish and ignorant questionings;” so Tit. 3:9; in 1 Cor. 1:25, “the foolishness of God,” not mōria, foolishness as a personal quality (see C, No. 1), but adjectivally, that which is considered by the ignorant as a foolish policy or mode of dealing, lit., ‘the foolish (thing);’ so in ver. 27, “the foolish (things) of the world.”

Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words

We need to be careful about what we think about others.

We need to be careful about what we say about others.

We need to be careful about what we do to others.

Murderers we may not be, guilty of slander is our plea. You fool, you moron is what we say, we struggle to look the other way. Created in God’s image, we have our own pilgrimage. Why are you not like me, you are on your own journey. Can I help?


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