"You're familiar with the command to the ancients, 'Do not murder.' I'm telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother 'idiot!' and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell 'stupid!' at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill."
Jesus isn't talking about which names you can call people, but instead talking about anger and contempt together, something I find way too much of in my own life. To deal with contempt, I've been trying to go beyond just "trying really hard not to find people contemptable" and instead look at the core issue for me of my own self-righteous, vanity and lack of valuing others.
I remember a lesson a while back with my youth group where everyone had a number on their forehead which they couldn't see, but everyone else could. The kids had to group themselves into groups based on the numbers they saw on other's forehead. We went from there to talking about how when we look at others, we subconsciously put a number on their forehead in terms of how we value them. We talked about how God ultimately places a ten on all of our foreheads in terms of how he values us and how when we really understand this, it affects the value we place on others. All that being said, I need to change how I value others by understanding how God values me and then internalize that at a heart level, starting by figuring out what that looks like.
As I was reflecting on valuing others, my Mom came to mind, especially babies. I have this image of my Mom when she was around her grandkids and how she had a way of making them feel very special and loved. Her love of babies in general oozed out of her. It seemed that she was more excited about people who were pregnant or had a new baby than the new Mom's themselves. One cause that was very dear to my Mom's heart was abortion. One of my Mom's favorite verses was this:
"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar… For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139)She hated the idea of abortion not because she wanted to squash anyone's rights, but because she valued every baby so much that she couldn't fathom anyone killing a baby. It was really difficult for her to understand how someone could consider a baby an inconvience because she found them so amazing and valuable.
I want to become the kind of person who sees people with a ten on their forehead and places the same kind of value on them that my Mom did little babies. It's interesting even today as I'm going through my work day, I've been super aware of all of the ways I don't do that. It would be a huge help if everyone could wear a sticky note on their forehead with a ten on it as a gentle reminder.