Monday, July 9, 2012

No Name Calling

My daughter loves everything Disney. So of course she has introduced her kids to age appropriate Disney movies. She agonized over the right age to introduce some of them because of the evil monsters. But I think she was surprised that it was language, not violence, that was a problem in 101 Dalmations. In the movie, Cruella De Vil calls her henchmen idiots. That’s a word Eryn has not allowed in her home and suddenly she found her kids using it with glee. She worked hard to remove it from their vocabulary, so I was chagrined when they caught me using it. I sometimes call another driver an idiot if he does something I don’t like. 

I don’t have a temper, although I get cranky and grumpy when I’m mad at someone. But I don’t hold a grudge and I’m quick to apologize. But I am occasionally guilty of using terms like idiot. That doesn’t seem so bad. I don’t throw things or call people names to their faces. I’m really quite polite about my anger.

But it is bad. It’s just as bad as murder. 

According to Jesus, anger earns the same judgment as murder. I wonder why. Is it because every sin is equally awful in God’s eyes so they all deserve the same penalty? That is true according to scripture, but in this case Jesus is talking specifically about anger and murder. 

I think it’s the attitude that displeases God. The action is bad, but He’s talking about the motivation behind the action. The greatest commandment is to love God and the second one, which is just as important is to love others. When I get angry with someone I’m breaking that commandment. That’s why Jesus put so much emphasis on it. 

He wants me to love my enemies and pray for them. He blesses them with the same sunshine and rain as He does me. He died for them, just like He did for me. As His child, I should bless them with the same love He showers on me. 

When someone does something that makes me mad, I should turn to the Holy Spirit for help in responding with love. But until God has finished His work in me, and I truly love my neighbor as much as I love myself, maybe I can use the first stirrings of anger to remind me to call on Him. When a nasty name like idiot pops into my head, it can be a reminder to me to pray for the other person.

Lord, help me to say a prayer instead of calling someone a name.


  1. In the world where Jesus lived as a man, someone's honor (like reputation) was as important as her or his life. By calling someone an idiot, it was like killing their honor, shaming them publicly, taking away their honor. I think you're right saying Jesus is telling us that we have to lover our enemies, and our neighbors. It's more than anger though. It is preserving their reputation in public.

  2. Janet, thank you for that additional note. Being someone who is usually oblivious, I don't think about how my words make those around me think poorly of the person I'm referring to. Phee

  3. Thanks for this word, Phee. I, too, have noticed both the language used in kids' tv/movies, as well as my own slip of the tongue- especially when driving! I have heard this message so many times before, but your connection between the two has really spoken to me. Sigh, praise God for his grace and mercy as we walk this road! Blessings, Helen

  4. Indeed, Helen. Praise God for His grace and mercy. Phee