ORTHODOXY – PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
THE LAW CHRISTIANS MUST OBEY
Whoever has faith in Christ has made a good beginning which needs to be brought to fruition. Faith in Christ without works, as James the Apostle says, is dead. The works are accomplished by hearkening to and carrying out all that the Son commands, for He speaks what His Father wills, thus we all need to listen and obey. Christ speaks as follows: “You have heard that it was said to them of old time, you shall not kill; and whoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment, and whoever shall say to his brother Raca, shall be in danger of the council; but whoever shall say you fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
The law of Moses subjected murderers to the penalties of justice. Christ’s legislation differs by forbidding the lesser behavior that leads to murder, such as anger, insult and blasphemy forbidding and penalizing these things preventing the crime of murder. To be guilty of these lesser things must be shown as being related to the potential crime, for example, all types of anger do not lead to murder. Also whoever called his brother raca ( similar to “worthless” or “good for nothing”) makes him liable before the council,” and possible condemnation.
The Gospel Laws established by Christ are for those who believe in Him and strive to keep His commandments as members of His Church. All Orthodox Christians are brothers and sisters of Christ and what they do to each other is done to Christ who said: “Amen, Amen, I say unto you as you have done to the least of these my brethren you have done it to me” (Mat.25:40). Therefore a Christian unreasonably angry with another is also unreasonably angry with Christ. He who calls his brother a fool, knowing him to be the brother of Christ, evidently calls Christ a fool. And he who calls Christ a fool blasphemes against the Holy Spirit. For whoever is a fool is a fool because of his folly, and folly indicates a spirit of foolishness and senselessness. That means he has called the spirit in Christ a spirit of folly. Christ was maligned by the Pharisees and said: “whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit., it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world nor in the world to come” (Mat. 12:32).
“Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled with your brother and then come and offer your gift. When you know your brother has been wronged go to him and be reconciled then offer your gift.” Not just remembering our own ill feelings toward a brother, but also those of him towards us, requires us to seek reconciliation with him.