Christian Thought Spiritual Growth

Idle Words

Jesus said we are accountable for every “idle word” we speak

A verse in Matthew 12:36 says that men shall give account of every idle word they speak.   Some may focus their thoughts on how God is keeping tabs on every word we speak. Others may wonder how our words will be played back before us on the day of judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10), that is, the Bema Seat for the redeemed, which is a day of rewarding. But one thing we ought to reflect on is how God desires us to act responsibly in the area of our speech life. God holds us accountable for what we say. Clearly, He does not want us to be thoughtless about the words that come out of our mouths.

The New International Version translates the original word used to “empty” instead of KJV’s “idle, while the ESV translates it as “careless”. The Amplified Bible explains the original word as “inoperative and nonworking.” From these translations we get a better understanding of what idle words are.

Idle words are careless words.

Careless words are spoken with little or [no] thought for avoiding error or harm. You may have the best intention but if you do not put your words together with care, you may end up causing more harm than good. If you speak carelessly, conflicts may deepen rather than become resolved. Avoid speaking idle words by considering how to better get your ideas and opinions across. Consider the feelings and the state of mind and heart of the person you are talking to. No matter how good your words are, if someone is not ready or prepared to listen, nothing good will come out of the conversation. Time your words and seek not only to impart truth but to impart understanding. Also, fact check first before forming opinions and drawing conclusions. Then, speak your mind.

Idle words are unprofitable words.

Some have the habit of speaking their mind constantly. Well, speaking one’s mind is a necessity. There’s nothing wrong with that. But to be on a constant, unrestrained habit of speaking your mind can be irresponsible. It is important to get things off of your chest, but you shouldn’t abuse your right to do that. A Christian who seeks to be responsible with his speech life must learn to choose words that benefit others, not just oneself. A growing Christian understands that even in talking, one should not be selfish nor self-centered. The thing you want to speak about must benefit both you and the person you are talking to, otherwise, it’s not a helpful matter to discuss. Information, correction, teaching; these are all profitable. How about gossip, plain criticism, shaming. Are the people involved in the conversation made better after talking and hearing these?

Idle words are meaningless words.

Fluff, fillers, exaggerations, and at times, flatteries; these types of speech are in danger of being meaningless. Meaningless words have no purpose, no reason, and no significance. Often, it’s only the foolish who like fluffy words, exaggerations, and flatteries. The thinkers, the no-nonsense non-time wasters, prefer the actualities all the time. Simple flatteries can boost esteem. They can fan the flame and encourage people to do better. But a mountain full of flatteries can weigh a person or a project down. When people fail to see where things really stand, needful changes are hard to discern. Growth slows down, nothing gets better.

There is a way to “not mince words” yet to speak your mind with tact, respect, and concern. There is a way to speak the truth in love and it’s not about honey coating your words. Speaking the truth in love is not having words made artificially sweet. There’s no need to do that. When you speak the truth in love, you come from a place where the intention is pure love; you come from a place where there is a careful consideration of the person’s feelings; you come from a place where the words chosen are most beneficial. Come from a place like that and your words will be naturally sweet and pleasant to a willing listener. What you say may even hurt, but to the right listener who knows and trust your character, what you say will bring fruit.


Godinterest designs are edgy, contemporary, and made of high-quality soft fabrics. Consider it to be evangelism on the move with each piece boldly proclaiming the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. We are confident that you will experience a comfortable fit and that the designs we create are on trend. Enjoy Godinterest clothing and accessories that are very affordable as well as being a HostRooster exclusive brand!

… we have a small favour to ask. It is our mission to resource the world with relevant, practical, timely, and helpful content focused on fashion, technology, creativity, and faith. With a small blog that started in September of 2008, we’ve grown, changed, evolved, and become the community that we are today. Support Godinterest from as little as $1 – it only takes a minute. If you can, please consider supporting us with a regular amount each month. Thank you.

By Ana Menez

I serve with a training & equipping organization. I am also a freelance writer and I take great interest in writing and sharing growth resources. Reading is one of my great loves. I love it for all its fresh insights and points of view that help as I consider issues relevant to my faith life.

17 replies on “Idle Words”

Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful info particularly the last part :) I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this site. Thanks, I will try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your web site?

I have learn a few good stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how so much attempt you place to create this kind of magnificent informative website.

I was suggested this website by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty. You are amazing! Thanks!

Thank you for any other magnificent post. Where else may just anybody get that type of information in such a perfect means of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the look for such info.

Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!

Hey There. I found your weblog the usage of msn. That is a really smartly written article. I?l make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your helpful information. Thanks for the post. I?l certainly comeback.

I’m curious to find out what blog system you are working with? I’m experiencing some minor security issues with my latest site and I would like to find something more risk-free. Do you have any recommendations?

One more thing. I think that there are many travel insurance internet sites of trustworthy companies that allow you to enter your holiday details and acquire you the rates. You can also purchase your international travel insurance policy on the web by using the credit card. Everything you should do is usually to enter your travel information and you can start to see the plans side-by-side. You only need to find the system that suits your budget and needs and after that use your credit card to buy it. Travel insurance on the web is a good way to take a look for a dependable company with regard to international travel cover. Thanks for revealing your ideas.

I actually wanted to make a simple remark in order to thank you for all the great concepts you are sharing at this website. My extended internet investigation has at the end of the day been honored with extremely good suggestions to talk about with my neighbours. I ‘d say that many of us website visitors are quite endowed to be in a great community with many lovely people with great solutions. I feel somewhat lucky to have used your entire website page and look forward to plenty of more fabulous times reading here. Thank you once more for all the details.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: