Hebrew priest blowing Shofar Be Careful With Words and Your Anger

A Scripture Study On Family Life

There are three important directives reflecting on this subject as written in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. In Matthew’s Gospel, Yahushuah gave the following commands: (1) “Repent!” (2) “Follow Me!” and (3) “Obey YAH!” Then, His disciples (students) heard this. “For I say to you, except that your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:20)

Many thought the Pharisees and scribes at that time were very righteous, zealous enforcers of Torah (the teachings and instructions of Elohim). Surely, such pious religious leaders were well on their way to Yah’s Kingdom. Not so fast, says Mashiach. His disciples must not only obey all of YAHUAH’s Words, they must do a better job of keeping His commands than people they perceive as holy. Then, He then gives another command with an example. You have heard that it was said to them of old time, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you, that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment; and whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever shall say, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:21-22)

When Yahushuah addressed His fellow Israelites with “You have heard,” He may have used the Hebrew phrase “Shema O’Israel!!” Such a declaration would have acknowledged that His audience very well understood and were doing well in obeying with a commandment that YAHUAH spoke through Mosheh to the Israelites (“them of old time”). Specifically, He was referring to this command, “You shall not kill (murder).” (Exodus 20:13)

In Strong’s Concordance, the word “kill” in Hebrew is “ratsach” (H7523). It means “to murder, slay”. Webster’s Dictionary explains the difference between the words “kill”, “slay” and “murder.” “Kill” means “to cause the death of in any way and may be applied to persons, animals, or plants.” “Slay” implies a “deliberate and violent killing.” “Murder” applies to an “unlawful and malicious or premeditated killing; a killing committed during a felony i.e. rape or robbery.” In Greek, “kill” is “phoneuo” (G5407). Like Hebrew, it means “slay, to commit murder.” Thus, many Bible translations accurately use the word “murder.”

Yahushuah teaches that anyone who commits murder is “in danger of judgment.” We’re familiar with America’s judicial system, and ancient Israel had similar judgment practices that were still in-place when our Savior was on earth. Thayer’s Lexicon describes “judgment” (“krisis”; G2920) as a “sentence of condemnation, damnatory judgment and punishment under society’s system of a college of judges (a tribunal of seven men in several cities of Palestine; as distinguished from the Sanhedrin, which had its seat at Jerusalem).”

Yahusuah is hereby speaking of a court that “rendered opinion or decision concerning justice and injustice, right or wrong.” In Strong’s, the word “krisis” is “a separating, sundering, separation.” Elohim is ultimately our judge. Consider how He judges (separates) the first murderer recorded in scripture. “Behold, You have driven me out this day from the face of the earth. From Your face I shall be hid. I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth. It shall come to pass, that every one who finds me shall slay me.” (harag; H2026; to kill, murder, destroy) And YAHUAH said to him, Therefore, whosoever harag Qayin (slay Cain), vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And YAHUAH set a mark upon Cain lest any finding him should kill (nakah; H5221; to strike, smite, hit, beat slay, kill) him. (Genesis 4:14-15)

Many serving life for murder in prison attest that being separated from society is a fate worse than death. How much worse is Cain’s experience of being banished from Yah’s presence? When he realized that he was about to be physically separated from Elohim, He became very weak indeed.

Keep this picture of judgment in mind as we look deeper into the words of Yahushuah when He raises the bar of Yah’s righteous standards regarding murder even higher with this command. “Whoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment.” (Matthew 5:22)

That word “angry” is “orgizo” (G3710). It means “to be provoked to anger, be angry, be wroth.” That word “brother” is “adelphos” (G80). It seems to cover just about everyone, since it means “a brother, whether born of the same two parents or only of the same father or mother; having the same national ancestor, belonging to the same people, or countryman; any fellow or man; a fellow believer, united to another by the bond of affection; an associate in employment or office; a brethren in Mashiach, his brothers by blood, all men, apostles, Messiachayim, as those who are exalted to the same heavenly place.” And, His clarifying word “without a cause” is one Greek word, “eike” (G1500). It means “inconsiderably, without purpose, without just cause.”

Using these scriptural definitions, let’s reread Yahushuah’s command about not being angry without a reason. Anyone who enters into such a state is standing on very shaky ground much like a murderer. “Whoever becomes provoked to anger or is wroth with anyone, without a just cause or purpose, is in danger of being separated from society, or from Elohim.”

That’s a serious indictment about the emotion of anger. It clearly tells me to stop sweating over small stuff, those minor inconveniences or impositions that often led to my getting angry in the past. For example, I would get angry for dumb reasons like people taking cuts in line, or cutting me off on the expressway. My outbursts of words (and gesticulations) were much worse than those given in Yahushuah’s example. So, I better learn how to be angry in the future because such a situation is certain to occur. “Be ye angry and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” (Ephesians 4:26)

Even YAHUAH became angry with good reason. “Yet in this thing you did not believe YAHUAH your Elohim, who went in the Way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to show you by what Way you should go, and in a cloud by day. And YAHUAH heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and swore, saying, ‘Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I swore to give to your fathers, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He shall see it. To him, I will give the land that he has trodden upon, and to his children, because he has wholly followed YAHUAH.’ Also YAHUAH was angry with me for your sakes, saying, ‘You also shall not go in there.’” (Deut. 1:32-37)

Yahushuah goes on to say that being angry without a cause subjects us to judgment. He then gives an example. If we belittle someone with words we are at risk of a judgment before society. In other words, a person who calls anyone “Raca!” is in danger of being brought before a council of men (society’s judgment). According to Strong’s, “raca” (G4469) means “O empty one, worthless”. In Thayer’s Lexicon, It also means “senseless”.

Then, Yahushuah brings to light an even more serious example of name-calling. Anyone who dares to say “You fool!” is in danger of hell fire. In Greek, that form of verbal scorn is “moros” (G3474) which is defined as “dull or stupid” in Strong’s. Thayer’s says it means “foolish, impious or godless.” “Moron” is the English word that’s derived from the Greek word. It means “silly, stupid and foolish.” This is a more serious reproach than “raca” because that word scorns a person’s mind. It declares them stupid. “When one is called “moros” it scorns his heart and character.” (Spiros Zodhiates, Greek-American Bible scholar)

To call someone “stupid” to their face, surely is an insult and offense. Read a paper or watch a news broadcast for the all too common incidents that began with name-calling (or a cross look) which led to a verbal outburst, then to a physical confrontation, and in the worst case scenario, a murder. Spiteful words can and do cause emotional flames to erupt. “For, in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man and able to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths that they may obey us. We turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great and are driven of fierce winds, yet they are turned about with a very small helm wherever the governor lists. Even so, the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindles! The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. So is the tongue among our members. It defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature. It is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and birds, and serpents, and things in the sea, are tamed, and are tamed of mankind. But the tongue no man can tame. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith we bless Elohim, even the Father; and therewith we curse men, who are made after the similitude of Elohim. Out of the same mouth, blessing and cursing proceed. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Does a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” (James 3:2-11)

Denigrating somebody by verbally scorning them to another person can permanently destroy their relationship. The negative emotional, mental or spiritual results can be a devastating fate worse than death. Mashiach says don’t venture on that path with our lips. Learn to hold back words and thoughts about others. “If any man among you seems to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is vain.” (James 1:26)

Men and women were created in Yah’s image and likeness. Who are we to judge another and defame them with a nametag? Our words can bless or curse, destroy or build-up. Choose the better Way. “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He, who speaks evil of his brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another? (James 4:11-12)

I pray we seldom get angry. I also pray we never belittle anyone with our words. May we all especially heed these words of Yahushuah. “If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:10)

May Yah’s mercy and grace be upon all of us. Shalom, Elder Curt