But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.Again, anyone who says to his brother, “Raca,” is answerable to the Sanhedrin.But anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell.(Matthew 5:22, NIV)
In Matthew 5:22, Jesus explains the true intent and scope of the commandment “Do not murder.” He says that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. The anger in here must be distinguished from God’s holy anger. The holy anger is the wrath against what disobeys God’s Word or interrupts His glory. For example, Jesus entered the temple one day and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of those selling doves. This was the holy anger of Jesus because they used the holy temple as their market. Also, when Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, saw the adultery of an Israelite man and a Midianite woman, he was angry and killed them with his spear. Then, God praised him because he hated and removed what the Lord hated.
But on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.(Genesis 4:5, NIV)
The anger that Jesus mentioned in verse 22 is coming from hatred. Abel, Adam’s son, brought his offering to God with his heart, so the Lord received his offering. However, Cain, his brother, was different, so God did not receive his. Then, Cain became angry, and he harbored a deep hatred toward Abel. Cain eventually moved his anger into an evil deed and killed Abel, which was the first murder of humankind. The hatred in his heart was moved to murder. When we get angry with someone for any reason, we bear hate in our hearts. If we cannot control our anger, even in a moment, it goes on to foolish behavior and may lead to an irreversible disastrous consequence, as Cain did. First John 2:9 warns, “Anyone who hates his brother is still in the darkness.”
Jesus also tells us that anyone who says to his brother, “Raca,” will be punished, and anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in the fires of hell. Raca means “stupid,” and it comes from the heart of pride or hatred that despises the other. Jesus never overlooks that we curse or hurt our neighbor with our words.
Proverbs 15:4 says that the tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but perversion in it crushes the spirit. We can encourage, motivate, and energize our neighbors with our words. If so, we will take after the Lord and have power in our words, just as He formed the world with His command. However, some people hurt their neighbors with their words, crush their minds, stress them, and cause hostility and anger. They are like Satan, in that they enjoy cursing and despising their neighbors. They often condemn those whom Jesus has forgiven and then make them stumble. Jesus said that what comes out of our mouths come from our hearts, and this makes us “unclean.”
Recent pop culture uses violence as one of its genres in movies, games, and entertainment to approach the public commercially. They often use curses as a source of humor or stress relief. They also justify taking revenge on an enemy with anger. However, as we are exposed to such violent cultures and gradually assimilated into them, what the Lord defines as sin permeates our minds. Therefore, we must not follow the wrong values of the world but thoroughly make our words and thoughts godly by reading the Bible. Proverbs 29:11 gives us the great lesson that a fool immediately reveals his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. It is wise to refrain from the anger that immediately arises from our hearts. If another provokes us with an evil deed, the Lord will judge them instead of us. His wrath is more severe and effective than our wrath. Also in Proverbs 20:15, it is written that the lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel. Depending on how we speak, our mouths can be either a beautiful fountain that creates very precious values or a sewer from which dirty water flows. Realizing that we have the power in our words like the Lord, we must be cautious about what we say, and benefit others all the time.
In Matthew 5:23–24, Jesus says we must go first and be reconciled to our brother or sister if we injured or tortured someone’s heart with our anger or words. The reason is that fellowship with God cannot be done in holy consciousness before reconciliation with our neighbor is done. When we pray to the Lord, He will let us know whom we should be reconciled with and what to do. For the good fellowship with our Lord, we must solve it when He lets us know it.