«But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, Raca! ‘shall be in danger of the council. but whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire» (Matthew 5:22).
Marisa’s husband was a man with good intentions, but he was overly critical of his wife. He sometimes told her:
«You don’t even know how to peel potatoes . . . You peel away all the edible parts. Watch how I do it!» or «Marisa, you don’t understand current events or politics, and what you’re saying makes no sense.
“He was constantly damaging Marisa’s self-esteem without meaning to and she ended up believing she was useless. This was not due to her lack of qualities, because she did have many. Marisa had an exceptional practical intelligence, but the lack of encouraging remarks from her husband had destroyed her self-esteem.
Unfortunately, there are much worse cases. There are husbands who not only humiliate their wives with their words, but they openly insult them and even hit them. This is why we notice that women who are victims of domestic violence suffer from great insecurity and a very low self-esteem. Both physical and psychological abuse are an abomination that God does not approve of. It is in clear contradiction with the conjugal love promoted by the Scriptures, which urge husbands to «love their own wives as their own bodies (Eph. 5:28).
Today’s passage is very tough on people who verbally abuse others. Those who do so are in danger of the fires of hell. The damage that could be wrought by spoken words and the manner in which they are uttered is such that the Lord wanted to make it clear that this type of behavior would not be left unpunished.
On the other hand, He speaks highly and praises wise, kind, and lovely words! The Scriptures compare these words to the tree of life (Prov. 15:4) and to honeycomb (16:24). They also say, «He who gives a right answer kisses the lips!» (24:26) and «a soft answer turns away wrath» (Prov. 15:1.
By the grace of God, promise yourself to use words that will bring love, understanding, and warmth. Pray in silence before speaking and let the Holy Spirit guide your messages. You will harvest the fruits for yourself, as «whoever guards his mouth and tongue, keeps his soul from troubles» (Prov. 21:23) and, furthermore, you will be encouraging your brother (1 Thess. 5:11) instead of ruining his self-esteem.