Don’t Use Insults

Gospel Message & Recording

You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.” But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, “You fool!” will be liable to the hell of fire.
— Matthew 5:21–22

We have spoken much in this last year and a half about on how to speak to each other and how to use our words wisely. In the Gospel reading today Christ once again speaks to our consciousness, advising us not to insult our brothers or sisters through the use of our words.

In our day and time, we have a tendency to use words that can be insulting (or could be perceived as an insult). It is our duty as Christians to use our words wisely so that we bring no insult to others. This does not mean that we should not be truthful, or shy away from standing up for what is right. On the contrary, be truthful but stay away from insults. Say what you have to say but say it in a way that does not insult the person’s character or intelligence.

In our political atmosphere we are only hearing insults, and backstabbing words rather than the facts. No one wants to stick to the facts.  Instead, what we see is people using their raw emotions to answer every problem or issue which in turn transforms into insulting the other person or organization. As Christians we have to stay away from that.

There are a few ways to bring insult to someone and hurt their feelings:

  1. Christ talks to us about saying “Raca” to someone will be liable to the council. “Raca” derives from an Aramaic language, which means “empty headed.” We could, without meaning it, insult someone’s intelligence by not recognizing their contribution to our conversation, or by not giving them due recognition for their intellectual contribution when it is deserved. This normally happens because we believe that we are more intelligent than others. Further, we might think we have greater talents than others. For example, preaching is one of my Holy Spirit gifting. That said, I should recognize others who are preaching and see the value of their contribution to the same field that I am working in. We should always incorporate everyone ideas, or at least attempt to, so that everyone feels included. We should not use words such as, “stupid”, “doesn’t know anything,” “less intelligent.” Everyone is talented and gifted in different ways. Just because someone is not gifted in math does not mean they are not gifted in English. Recognize everyone as intelligent and having the ability to contribute to humanity.

  2. Being overly sarcastic. Sarcasm can be a form of comedy. But when taken too far it can become insulting. Sarcasm is an ironic satirical remark that seems to be praising and/or positive but is insulting. For a Christian this is not a proper way to communicate with others. It is a sort of slimy approach to conversation. This is not to say that there is no room for sarcasm in our conversations; of course there is! But make sure not to over do it or to use it to deliberately insult or hurt someone.

  3. Willfully insulting someone due to their culture, race, religion or individual preferences is not becoming of a Christian. We can be truthful in regard to our position on politics; religion etc., but there is no need for insults or any words that are offensive in regard to someone’s individualism or identity. Being truthful and having a straightforward attitude does not mean we have to be insulting.