But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
Belligerence is hostility or combativeness; it's a readiness to fight or argue; it's aggression.* A belligerent person is a dream hater.
The opposite of belligerence is peace: 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God' (Matthew 5:9). A peaceful person is a dream lover.
In both Testaments, God commands His children to 'Seek peace and pursue it' (Psalm 34:14, 1 Peter 3:11). Consider the final Prayer of Jesus, as reported by John: 'The Prince of peace' (Isaiah 9:6), 'The Lord of peace' (2 Thessalonians 3:16), pleaded for unity in the church:
'That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me' (John 17:21).
Is Jesus saying that if we're hateful to each other, the world won't believe in Him? Yes! Because if you stop to consider it, who wants to enter a family of belligerent brothers?
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Jesus denounced dream-hating brethren in the harshest possible terms: 'Whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.'
Hell? Just for calling someone a fool? 'The temper condemned is that in which anger has so far gained the mastery that we no longer recognise a 'brother' in the man who has offended us, but look on him with malignant scorn' (Ellicott's Bible Commentary on Matthew 5:22).**
Scorn is a serious offense in the Book of God.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: none of this is news to you. Most likely, you've already faced Christians who called you and/or your dreams 'foolish.' If so, consider four reminders:
1) Pray for your belligerent brothers; 2) Love them anyway; 3) Be patient with them, because God is patient with you; 4) Don't let them stop you.
To Be Continued...
* Collins English Dictionary and Merriam Webster Dictionary
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Dream Haters series.