By Dr. Foster H. Shannon
‘Whoever then breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 5:19)
“But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘you fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matthew 5:22)
We live in an atmosphere of insults, people assaulting one another with an assembly of insults: bigot, homophobe, fascist, racist, stupid, dumb, idiot, liar, misogynist, etc. In the past two weeks, we saw men fighting with one another on two occasions while on an airplane. One wonders if the fights might have been brought on by one insulting the other?
“Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19,20)
“If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain.” (James 1:26)
“So the tongue is a little member and boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell.” (James 3:5,6)
In our politics, we see too much of people insulting one another, which accomplishes nothing except to evoke anger.
“Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31,32)
We should treasure the truth, because it gives us life and light. We achieve the truth through honesty and reason. Insults are a poor substitute for reason. If we hold to the truth, people will respect us. If we curse them, they will despise us.
You remember Jesus’ encounter with Pontius Pilate:
“Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice. Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (John 18:37,38)
We need to heed the teachings of our Savior, who teaches us so that we may have life, health, peace and salvation. We ignore his teachings to our destruction.
With honesty and truth, we can be a blessing to many. We live in a day, when truth will bring healing, and falsehood will cause damage.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father, who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Instead of attacking and insulting one another, we are to help one another. In our families, we need to take care of how we speak. Our Lord wants us to have good lives!