Matt 5:22


22 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."

Exaggeration? Hyperbole? Because surely saying “you fool!” is not a mortal sin!

Yet a couple verses later when He is talking about “looking with lust in our heart” our Lord calls that adultery and we know this is a mortal sin. Our Lord doesn’t give any exacerbating factors here. To me I would have to conclude that to insult someone is just as problematic as impure thoughts- but then… surely we are committing mortal sin all the time? :confused:

I do struggle with scrupulosity so it’s important that I sort this out or i shal be plaguing the poor priest in the confessional again every other day.


i usually check out new posts; do you like foot ball, my friend?;)-well that almost changes the subject; but if you like foot ball-i have just got through answering another post…to answer a challenging inquiry; i describe it like spiritual foot ball…if so check out my response to, as follows…Does the Immaculate Conception seem a bit… unfair?

there seems to be a dilema you speak; to be honest-i need not risk something suggesting an idea to ruin your soul. But good-you mention the confessional…
i am not for certain what might be a key starting point…but here is something-some one told me-and i have never been able to refute it ( i don’t know the mind of God by the way)
so here goes: the reason that God designed us the way he did with libedo and sexual desires was that if he ‘Told’ us to multiply strictly by his holy command-mankind would not do what he said, consequently there would be no more human race (as a world wide population anyway).

yet this is two part-that we each have a different cross to carry; -mine is different from yours; well- take a crucifix with you to the church when you go: (you are there a lot , right/) well take it and place it some where-where people pass-let it rest-make an observation-if they had their cross-and left it there-would they all be the same? and i hope you-find the answer…have a good night…


SirEwenii. You asked about Matthew 5:21-22 (especially: “whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire”).

You said:

Exaggeration? Hyperbole? Because surely saying “you fool!” is not a mortal sin!

This is a great question and one I pondered myself for quite sometime as well. The best answer I’ve found has been from Dr. Brandt Pitre’s audios (here).

Please forgive me as I cannot recall which audio in particular it was though. If you want you can PM me and I will give you a few suggestions.

He has a free audio on the Eucharist that is excellent (here). These things are often removed so I’d download it quickly and DO listen to it.

But back to the subject at hand. Think of . . . .

Thou shalt not murder (The Fifth Commandment).

CCC 2268 The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance.69

Infanticide,70 fratricide, parricide, and the murder of a spouse are especially grave crimes by reason of the natural bonds which they break. Concern for eugenics or public health cannot justify any murder, even if commanded by public authority.

But the Fifth Commandment goes beyond this. We cannot even want our brother murdered (fratricide).

This in and of itself would be a violation of the Fifth Commandment too right?

CCC 2302 By recalling the commandment, "You shall not kill,"94 our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral.

Anger is a desire for revenge. “To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit,” but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution "to correct vices and maintain justice."95 If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbor, it is gravely against charity; it is a mortal sin. The Lord says, "Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment."96

As stated, we cannot even want our brother murdered. This in and of itself would be a violation of the Fifth Commandment.

What would be worse than wishing our brother murdered?

Wishing our brother would go to eternal perdition. Wishing our brother would go to Hell!

This would tell us more of our soul (if we did such a thing) than it would our brother’s soul wouldn’t it?

CCC 2303 Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm. "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven."97

So keeping all of this (above) in mind, now let’s read Matthew 5:21-22

MATTHEW 5:21-22 21 "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, 'You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.

Dr. Brant Pitre talks about this concept.

The “You fool” is a curse.

The Hebrew word there would be “raca”. It is a Hebrew idiom that goes beyond an observation and is a declaration.

I’ll explain.

Think of it like: “The fool says in his heart there is no God” (see Psalm 14:1).

We know without faith, it is impossible to please God.

HEBREWS 11:6 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

What if you had someone who WISHED their brother had no faith in God?

What if you had someone who WISHED their brother would literally go to Hell?

There are 6 ways you can commit Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

*]Presumption of God’s mercy
*]Impugning the known truth
*]Envy at another’s spiritual good
*]Obstinacy in sin
*]Final impenitence

What would you think of the spiritual condition of that guy who WISHED their brother were in Hell (think: Envy at another’s spiritual good)?

“Raca” or the Hebrew word that would be used here for “you fool”, is likely in the sense of . . . not an observation (“you are so foolish”) . . . . but . . . . in the sense of a declaration (“may you be an unbeliever with all of its consequences including going to Hell”).

This guy is so mad at his brother, he wishes an evil outcome upon his brother. He wants his brother to go to Hell!

Incidentally. Brother in a Semitic sense goes way beyond your siblings.

But Jesus warning for us here should extend well beyond our brother.

We should not wish ANYONE would go to Hell. Why? Because if we do this guy will go to Hell? No! Because if we do, WE might go to Hell.

(bold and ul CCC and Scripture above mine, italics original)


Fantastic answer, thanks so much! Plenty of food for thought there :slight_smile:


Dear Ewenii, your observations are very good. This is the truth. :bighanky: So the problem is what do we have to do to obey and understand in which situation we found ourselves as Christians? So please I put here a link, and in post #2 deals with: What is real love? How Christ wants me to love? So please have a look. Post 1 deal with the answer. Unfortunately they joined these two threads.

Hope this helps to answer your question.:thumbsup:
In the love of God,



Jesus is using hyperbole - but in a serious way. Later in Matthew He talks about how it is what comes out of a person that makes him impure.

The main point about Jesus teaching is that how we think and act reflects where we are spiritually. It is a measure of how well we have incorporated His teaching, graces, and Agape into our life.
Of course this is a journey. We are not perfect. When we fail we need to make note of it and try to do better.

I always relate spiritual growth to diet and exercise. The analogy is this,
A person wants to lose weight - or maybe run a marathon. They know it will take time and they are not there yet. But the set goals for themselves and they work at it. They might even get with a trainer or with friends to help each other.
Little by little the person gets better.
Sometimes they falter…but hopefully they get up and keep going.

Look at your journey in these terms, and it might help with your scrupulosity issues.
Don’t feel like you have to be perfect all at once or that a slip up equals complete failure. Even the best baseball player only gets a hit about 3 in 10 tries.

Hang in there



Before scrupulosity influences you unduly, you haven’t yet plucked out an eye, or cut off a hand, have you? (Matthew 5:29-30) You see, some things are not to be taken in a harshly literalistic sense. No Evangelical or Fundamentalist has dared go this far. Our Lord was speaking of the Scribes and Pharisees here, and some of His harshest criticism, including a seven-fold (complete) condemnation (Matthew 23), was directed at the Pharisees, whom He knew would demand His death. As well, their heartless man-made traditions made void the words of God - the very words by which mankind lives (Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4, Mark 7:1-13).

Here is a link to the Catena Aurea, which is the commentary of the Church fathers on these verses (as compiled by Saint Thomas Aquinas and translated by John Henry Cardinal Newman). Certainly some wisdom contained in there.


This part of the “Sermon on the Mount” has the six antitheses (“You have heard it was said . . . but I say to you.”) It follows immediately after Jesus telling us we need a righteousness greater than that of the Scribes and Pharisees. They relied on the Law to understand the will of God–but Jesus shows that their interpretation leaves important gaps: getting angry with a brother (or sister) human person, looking at others with lust, accepting divorce, swearing oaths (because they imply dishonesty in other contexts is OK), retaliation, and finally love of others, including enemies. In every case, Jesus expands the law, making it harder for us. But should we be surprised? The end is “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

It is true we don’t hold getting angry as a mortal sin–but killing or desiring the death of another is grave matter, just as being lustful may not be a mortal sin, but adultery is. Is swearing an oath a mortal sin? Is taking revenge, even by legal means, a mortal sin?

But whether or not they are, we can usually benefit from being more sensitive to all sins, even venial ones. (The obvious exception is those who are scrupulous, who may need to turn away at least in part from the excessive focus on sin.)

So, as Paul will discover, by our own efforts, the Gospel is impossible. Should we give up? No–but we need to rely on more than our own efforts. We can only make it if we rely on the Holy Spirit, and rely on “forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” It helps to focus, as Pope Francis has indicated, more on the joy of the Gospel, and only secondarily on our sins. Remember that what we fix our eyes on, we tend to become like. Is it better to fix our eyes on the joy and goodness of the Lord, or on sin?

Only then will we have a Ghost of a chance to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.


I never realized that I didn’t really comprehend that bit of scripture, until today…and I do, now. Thanks for this!!


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