Contempt for another human being is an accepted practice these days. We say things about our fellow man like, idiot, jerk, loser – or a lot worse. The words shoot out of us like a blow torch. It’s so common it’s hard to notice, or that it’s even a problem.
What’s raca? Literally, raca is the sound one makes when spit is collected in the throat just before, well, spitting. Raca is contempt. Jesus used this word to describe what it’s like when we deny the worth of a fellow human being.
Do we really do this?
Think of the guy who cuts us off. What did we say – idiot, jerk? I usually use stronger language. How about the person who cut in line at the deli? Or co-workers that piss us off. What about the people wandering around Wal-mart late at night?
We deny their worth with our words and feelings. We call them second-class citizens, white trash, scumbags.
Our contempt reveals much about ourselves - superiority, anger, pride. Few would admit these things publicly; yet, we scream them with contempt.
When someone calls my child a name or thinks ill of them, I don’t like it. I know the value of my child. It pains me when someone degrades them.
Jesus teaches the same thing. He says “Hey, don’t do that. It’s not nice. It hurts peoples feelings, and it offends God. We also condemn ourselves with our own contempt.”
God wants us to live differently, and to be happy! To be happy and free, we need to move beyond this primitive level of thinking.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson