Summary: We need to be careful what we say because God will judge us by the things we say.
Every Careless Word
“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
In short: we need to be careful what we say because God will judge us by the things we say.
We would expect Jesus to condemn profane or vile uses of the tongue, but idle words?
What are idle words? Very simply put, are those words that we say without concern for their impact upon others:
• The words we use in venting our anger.
• The words we use when we do not accept responsibility for our own actions.
• The words we say out of jealously or envy.
• The words we use just to inflict hurt upon another person.
And these words relate to:
• The things we say to friends and family.
• Those things we say in church when certain groups come together.
• Those things we say to give a subtle hint of criticism of another person.
• And yes, gossip!
We need to be aware that God will judge us for those things we say casually, especially if those words bring hurt to another person. Remember that God looks upon the heart and as Matthew 15:17-20 tells us:
“Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”
So we see that those careless words are what our heart truly feels. And this is the very thing that Jesus was speaking about in verses 36-37 of chapter 12 when he was speaking against the Pharisees, that the words of their mouths’ showed the true nature of their heart.
An old proverb goes like this: “It is better to remain quiet and be thought a fool then to speak out and remove all doubt.”
One of the worst things that we can do is to say something hurtful to another person and than say “I was just kidding.” Or “Can’t you take a joke?”
As the Bible tells us, no you were no kidding, because that was what your heart was truly feeling. And no I can’t take a joke, because to me it was not funny. We need to think carefully about what we are about to say, because in venting your thoughts you may cause another person great pain.
Every Careless Word; be careful because they can bring hurt.
Jude 1:9 tells us that even God’s angels reframe from saying careless words against others.
“Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”
So what makes us believe that we can say anything we want and not receive judgment for our actions.
Proverbs 17:28 puts a clear picture on what we should do when we feel like uttering a casual comment about another person:
“Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”