Every Careless Word
“But I say to you that for every idle word men
may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.” (Matthew
Jesus spoke plainly about our idle words, yet His
warning often goes unheeded. Jesus said that for every idle word there will be
a time of accounting in the day of judgment. We would expect Jesus to condemn
profane and vile uses of the tongue, but idle words? Idle words are things we
say carelessly, without concern for their impact on others. We too quickly
assume that the sins of our tongue are minor sins, sins that God will overlook.
Yet Jesus was fully aware of the devastating nature of our words, for the idle
words that come from our mouths give a lucid picture of the condition of our
The Book of Proverbs encourages us to speak less
rather than risk saying something offensive (Prov. 17:28). Often when we have
nothing significant to say we are tempted to speak injurious, idle words. The
more time we spend in idle chatter, the greater the likelihood that we will say
things that are harmful. James cautioned believers to be “swift to hear, slow
to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). We are in much less danger of saying
something offensive when we are listening than when we are speaking!
Think carefully about the words that come from your
mouth. Christians should speak only words that uplift and bring grace to others
(Eph. 4:29). Do you need to speak less? Do you need to be more careful about
the kind of humor you use? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you evaluate whether
your words build up others or whether they destroy and hurt others.