Interpreting Matt. 5

Q. What does Matthew 5:21-22 mean about insulting and calling one’s neighbor a fool? Does this relate to judging others? Also, what does Matt. 5:33-37 mean? I’ve interpreted them as meaning that we shouldn’t promise things because we can’t insure that they’ll happen, but I’m not sure – I might be missing something here.

A. In Matt. 5:21-22 Jesus was explaining that being angry or contemptuous toward someone is as bad as murdering them. He was trying to convey the idea that under the Law we’ll be judged according the thoughts of our hearts, not just by our actions. Therefore we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that by keeping the Law in our outward appearances we’ll be free from sin.

In Matt. 5:33-37, He advised us against making public oaths and swearing to fulfill them since there are too many variables in life that are beyond our control. But whether we say “yes” or “no” to something we’re to say what we mean and do what we say because that’s something we can control.

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