Easter is for Fools
I’ve heard people say that you should never call anyone a “fool,” that Jesus specifically called out this word, saying that anyone who uses it against someone would be doomed to hell. This comes from Matthew 5:20-22:
Matthew 5:20-22 20 “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. 21 “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22 “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca,’ [or empty-head] shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
So, what’s really happening here? Matthew 5:1 tells us that Jesus is speaking to His followers. Jesus starts off telling them they are to be the light of the world and share His gospel with everyone (Matthew 5:16). He then tells them that He came to fulfill the law of the Old Testament (5:17). Suffice it to say that the Old Testament law required a lot of sacrifice in order for the sinner to receive forgiveness. Jesus was basically saying here that He was the ultimate sacrifice, and His death would fix our relationship with God.
The problem was that many of Jesus’ followers probably thought they were already obeying the law of the Old Testament, so they wouldn’t need His big sacrifice. Jesus had to correct their thinking so they would realize they needed Him. To shake things up, Jesus goes so far as to say that just having bad thoughts would be enough to send them to hell. It’s within this context that Jesus tells them that just calling someone a bad name, such as “dummy” or “fool,” would be sinning, requiring them to get right with God.
Although we have all sinned, Jesus says we are supposed to “be perfect, as [our] heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) The problem is that we can’t be perfect on our own. Since our own obedience falters, and our sacrifices only go so far, we’re all doomed. The good news (and thank God there’s good news after that!) is that Jesus sacrificed Himself for us, to fix our relationship with God.
So, it’s not that the word “fool” is inherently bad; it’s the mean intentions of our hearts that earn us a place in hell. But Jesus knew this, even from the foundation of the world. He knew this and He died for us, so that we would have a right relationship with God once more. The real truth, then, is that we are all fools – and Easter is for all of us.