Why did Jesus call people fools and yet condemn others for doing the same thing?

Jesus said, “whoever says [to his brother], `You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matt. 5:22). Yet He Himself said to the scribes and Pharisees, “Fools and blind!” (Matt. 23:17) 

17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred?

Clarify Share Report Asked April 25 2023 Mini Anonymous

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Mini Paula Fether Lifelong student of the scriptures
According to https://www.compellingtruth.org/call-fool.html, the problem is that "something is lost in translation". Some Greek words mean "acting rashly, while others essentially amount to judging the soul. The word in Mat. 23:17 is ῥακα raka ("you empty one!"). But notice the key difference: the qualification of the one making the accusation. Only God knows the soul and can say whether a person is truly a fool, or has merely done something foolish. So it would seem that what Jesus is warning against is not knowing our place.

But then what do we do with Paul, who though an apostle was not divine? He called people names on several recorded occasions. But again, all he said was that they would face judgment, not that he himself was their judge.

Granted that this is a subtle distinction, but the message seems to be that we should be extremely cautious and hold back from pronouncing judgment on souls.

April 25 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Justin Hale
Jesus also said this for a very good reason:

“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24).

In order to truly see the important distinction here, you need to look past the surface 'appearance' and assess the situation with an understanding of the different motives involved.

In Matthew 5:22, Jesus has clearly stated that the motivation behind the statements is a sudden burst of anger, (Greek koine: 'orgizo'), which is described here in James 1:20 as a form of human wrath that is never able to achieve the righteousness of God. 

We are also told plainly that the 'fool' says in his heart, "There is no God," (Psalm 14:1). This is the wellspring of foolishness itself. That innermost thought taints every surface thought above it. We are surrounded by fools and foolishness wrapped in every imaginable garb, including robe-wearing 'experts of the law.'

Pointing out the truth is not a 'hellfire offense.' In fact, there really is only one 'hellfire offense,' and that is denial of Christ in our heart, and failure to confess Him with our mouth, (Romans 10:9-10).

However, the 'evidences of the flesh,' (Galatians 5:19-21, [verse 20 directly mentions 'outbursts of anger']), give us a clear insight into when 'foolishness' is right in front of us and needs exposed, especially when it is engaged in self-righteous hypocrisy and is attempting to 'guide' others. Not only is it not wrong to call a fool a fool in that situation, it would be wrong of us not to do so.

April 25 2023 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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