This inner hostility against someone results in insults. “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’” (Matt. 5:22). The word, “insults” (raka), is actually a noun in the Greek. The NKJV is more accurate here—“whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’” (Matt. 5:22, NKJV). The word “raca” is “a term of abuse,” which means, “empty-head” (Gingrich); or “one who is totally lacking in understanding” (Louw-Nida). In today’s lingo—“idiot,” or “imbecile.”
In their culture, to call someone, “raca,” is more insulting than calling someone, “empty-headed,” today. The reason is that in their culture, a name carries character and value. They lived in an “honor and shame” society. It was an honor to be respected with good words. It was a shame to be insulted with abusive words. To call someone, “raca,” is to malign his character. To call someone, “raca,” is to murder him in effect. It is called, “character assassination.” To call someone, “raca,” Jesus says, is to show an inner anger.
This anger against someone also results to calling him, “fool.” The word, “fool,” is from the Greek, moros, where we get our English word, “moron.” It means, “moron,” or “stupid” (Gingrich). Again, this is a very insulting word in Jesus’ day. To call someone, “fool,” was to show anger from the heart.
To be continually angry at someone is to be liable to judgment. This is the effect of anger—judgment by God. If you are angry at someone, God shall judge you.
So what do you do to avoid the consequences? Jesus says reconcile with the one you are angry with.