Everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable

“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.

Jesus takes relational living below the surface and beyond the superficial as he begin to describe the differences between the letter and the spirit of the law. Consider the verses that follow:
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
These words convince us of the serious nature of forgiveness and reconciliation. Name calling is serious because of the alienation that results from it. Jesus even speaks about those who accuse us and requires us to even forgive them. I think that it is so easy to fall back on the letter of the law in these situations - I mean who in their right mind would befriend one who insults and accuses them? It is the difference between those who live according to the letter of the law and those who live from the spirit behind it.

Father, help me to embrace the spirit of the law.

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