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Be Quick to Reconcile

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
God holds us accountable for every word we speak and He knows our motives behind the things we say.

Family Counseling Ministries -

Many of us probably recall a singsong rhyme from our childhood, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This, of course, is not true. Unkind, vicious words wound us deeply and we seldom forget them.


God holds us accountable for every word that we speak, and He alone knows the heart motives behind the things that we say. The Word of God teaches us to soberly evaluate our words.


In the book of Matthew, Jesus addresses the sin of speaking angry words. Jesus refers to three kinds of anger in Matthew 5:21,22,

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Racca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

When we are angry with a brother or sister, we must resist the temptation to lash out at him or her with cruel words.

The first type of anger that Jesus mentions is being angry with a brother. When someone offends us, our natural response is to strike out at him or her in anger, with our words, our actions and our attitudes. God is able to grant us supernatural strength to respond with gentleness and unconditional love for our offender.

The second kind of anger Jesus warns about is calling an offender a rude, insulting name, “Racca.” Before we exonerate ourselves from this particular sin, we must examine the meaning of the word “Racca.” It means “empty-headed.” It is the equivalent of calling someone an idiot, or a brainless moron.

King David spoke of people who use wicked, slanderous words,

They sharpen their tongues as a serpent; the poison of a viper is under their lips.

“Racca” is a word that communicates contempt—a word that degrades someone’s dignity as a creature made in God’s image.

We place ourselves in grave danger when we call our brother or sister a fool.

The third category of anger is the most offensive and grievous to God. When we call our brother or sister a fool, we relegate him or her to the ranks of rebels and reprobates. We call into question his or her love for and devotion to God.


This type of anger is an expression of condemnation, hatred and disgust. Jesus reserves His strongest warning for someone who calls another person a fool. He leaves no room for doubt as to the destiny that awaits such an offender.


Anger causes devastating problems in all of our relationships. People quit their jobs or get fired from them because of unresolved conflict and anger. Marriages and families fall apart because a husband or a wife refuses to deal biblically with his or her problem with anger.

Children emulate the anger that they witness in their parents’ behavior and they become increasingly aggressive with family members and other acquaintances.

Many churches have disintegrated because someone spoke cruel, angry words and refused to repent of his or her sin.

Church congregations split and go their separate ways, often because of an angry disagreement between two people who behave selfishly. They are unwilling to humble themselves in repentance for their angry words or attitudes.

The words of Ephesians 4:25-27 eloquently summarize God’s directive for how we should speak to one another and how we should deal with anger biblically: “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.”



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